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The Historical Society of Western Virginia exists to promote an interest in the broad spectrum of history with emphasis on that of southwestern Virginia; to collect, preserve, interpret, and make available materials relating to that history; to sponsor research and publication in the field of regional history; and to provide educational services to people and institutions throughout southwestern Virginia.
As a fledgling institution, the Historical Society of Western Virginia first opened in two steel file cabinets and lobby space in the Roanoke Main Library in 1957 and created the History Museum shortly after. Over the years we went on to occupy various commercial storefronts in downtown Roanoke.
When Roanoke's Center in the Square opened in 1983 in the renovated 1914 McGuire warehouse in the city market square, the Historical Society and History Museum became one of five nonprofit anchor tenants of this revitalization project. Garnering international and national awards, Center in the Square fulfilled the city's dream to revive a decaying downtown and boost a flagging cultural community.
The History Museum's collection comprises the largest repository of material devoted to tracing the human history of Western Virginia, a story that harkens back to our roots as a commonwealth and a nation.