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Friday March 13, 2020

Did you know that Martinsville – Henry County is home to six museums plus several exciting exhibits? These museums and galleries will encourage your mind to wonder into your past and spark your creativity.

In this series, we will let you in on a few secrets and lesser-known facts about some of these award-winning facilities and inspire you to rediscover our museums.

The Historic Henry County Courthouse now houses the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum in the portion of the building that was formerly the Henry County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. Exhibits on local and regional history change regularly in our Collector's Gallery so there is always something new for everyone to enjoy. The former Deed Room is now home to a timeline of the history of Martinsville and Henry County featuring artifacts, photographs and articles on Native American fish weirs, the Civil War, tobacco and local industries. The Circuit Court Courtroom is open on the second floor as well as vintage clothing, antique tool and furniture history displays. So, to jump right in, below you will find some behind-the-scenes information:

• In 1793 the first permanent courthouse was a structure of hewn logs on a stone foundation which at one moment in its life boasted a roof painted red, the gables white, and the walls blue. Court days were days of festivity which included political venues, gambling, as well as an occasional viewing of court proceedings.
• In 1824, as the importance of the county grew, a new two-story building recalling the popular Roman Classical style was built. This courthouse witnessed confederate troops marching off to Civil War and the long struggle to regain prosperity in the peace that followed. The thick walls of solid brick were laid in the elaborate Flemish bond pattern. These original walls with arched window openings may be seen today inside the Records Room, which housed documents dating to the 1790’s. Many signed by noted Virginians.
• In 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression, Henry County found that it had outgrown its imposing old courthouse. The 1824 courthouse was encased inside a larger building, which retained the original portico columns. This unusual building is unique among Virginia’s courthouses.
• With the demolition of the annexes and the foundation of former jail in 2004, the Courthouse stands almost completely unchanged from its construction of 1929, with only cosmetic changes to interior fixtures and antiquated updates throughout the years.

Upcoming Events/New Exhibits:
A Hodgepodge of Local History: Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 3 PM

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on MHC Heritage Center and Museum, please visit our website www.visitmartinsville.com Be sure to tag us on Facebook during your visits to the area museums using #VisitMartinsville.

Tags: Entertainment, History, Martinsville, Martinsville Uptown, MHC Heritage Center, Museums