Sue Farrar, Executive director
Montgomery Museum & Lewis Miller Regional Art Center
is housed in the circa 1852 Christiansburg Presbyterian Church Manse. The land for the manse was donated by the Craig Family, who owned Hans Meadow a few miles away. Reverend Nicholas Chevalier is thought to have been the first resident of the house. The American and Flemish bond brickwork of the building is made with bricks fired on site. After the Civil War, the house was sold to the Pepper family, who made many additions and alterations through their long ownership.The Museum is a nonprofit organization, was chartered in 1983 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of Montgomery County, Virginia and the region. Additionally, the museum and art center promotes an understanding of the role of art and artists in the region primarily through the exhibition of the work of regional artists. The museum’s library is an archive of books, documents, genealogical information, and photographs useful to researchers.
Preserving Our Shared History
Montgomery County was formed in 1776 from Fincastle County and was named after General Richard Montgomery who died at the Revolutionary War Battle of Quebec in 1775. The county experienced a wave of early settlement during the eighteenth century followed by sustained economic and population expansion. Agriculture, coal mining, and the establishment of Virginia Tech were important factors in the county’s growth during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Today, the Museum celebrates our towns, communities, local business, industry, and much more. Our Rotating History Exhibit room changes regularly and has recently hosted exhibits on such diverse topics as the early history of NASCAR; the history of the African American school, Christiansburg Industrial Institutes as well as historic clothing, local sports, and outstanding women of Montgomery County and the Civil War.
Highlighting Our Regional Artists
The Montgomery Museum exhibits both historic and contemporary artwork. A focus of our collection is Lewis Miller, a nineteenth-century folk artist who lived most of his life in York, Pennsylvania. Miller often visited family in Christiansburg and produced work depicting many scenes in Montgomery County. From 1862, until his death in 1882, Miller resided in Christiansburg and is buried in the Craig Cemetery, which is under the museum’s care. In celebration of the tradition of local art highlighted by Lewis Miller, we sponsor frequently changing exhibits in the art gallery by regional artists.
Celebrating Our Cultural Heritage
The Montgomery Museum sponsors artist receptions, exhibit openings, and other events throughout the year. In February, the museum sponsors h’ARTS on Main, a festival featuring the work of regional artists with boots and workshops. In late August, Montgomery County Heritage Day showcases traditional crafts people, antique automobiles and engines, traditional song and dance, as well as our traditional food ways. This event features special children’s areas for creative outlets, games, education and more.