Genesis of the Foundation

History and FAQ

When was the Museum founded/opened? What about the building the Museum is housed in? History and community have always been key elements of life in the historic riverfront port of Kinsale, where in 1977, three young Kinsale natives -- architect Harry Lee Arnest and historians Frank Bailey Jr., and Walter B. Norris Jr. -- spearheaded the creation of the Kinsale Foundation.

They were joined by other area businessmen and historians like Earl Carter Moss of Moss Chevrolet, Edna Sanford Douglas, the Bevanses of Bevans Oyster Co. and the Cardens of Potomac Supply in forming Kinsale Foundation.  They envisioned a group that would welcome newcomers to the historic village and unite in protecting Kinsale’s environment -- both cultural and physical.

In the ensuing years, the foundation has bought property for public use, as well as collecting and safe-guarding documentation on local history.  The Foundation co-hosts holiday gatherings with Cople District Volunteer Fire Department. The Museum building (which at various times housed a tavern, a butcher shop, and many other businesses) was given to the Foundation by Arnest's widow in 1989.  After extensive restoration, Kinsale Museum opened to the public in 1993. 

The two work hand in hand to promote preservation of Kinsale, which became a historic district in 2005.  The Foundation has since bought the old Ice Cream Parlor and has created gallery space there.

How would you describe the feel of the museum?
A welcoming place where stories are brought to life.
How is it funded?
Dues and donations from members and area businesses support the Museum and Community Events.
Is there a gift shop?
Yes! There are many items of nautical genre, including handmade soaps, beautiful pillows, vases, art cards and much more including: jewelry, books, prints, framed art, keepsakes, and souveniers.
Are there any special programs and/or partners that the Museum hosts or works with annually?
Crafters, artisans and other exhibitors are invited to setup in the Park starting at 5 p.m. on the closest Saturday to July 4th prior to the commencement of community fireworks on the Kinsale Bridge at 9:15 p.m.; as well as the 3rd Saturday of every September during Kinsale Day, and at Noon on the 1st Saturday in December during Christmas in Kinsale. Annual events include an Easter Egg Hunt and the annual Summer Dance and Silent Auction.
What significant exhibits make Kinsale Museum stand apart from others?
An extensive collection of photographs, scrapbooks, and other mementoes bring the past alive in the present. The water is ever present in vivid artworks by Phil Arnest and John Barber, Melvin Foxwell's Northumberland and the Estelle Leonard, several skipjack models, other boat models on loan from Turner Waughtel and the Sandy family, photos of steamboats, and exhibit about the Floating Theatre which Edna Ferber detailed in her book "Showboat". Kinsale is a port.


Board of Directors

Chair:  Lois Spencer
(804) 241-4637 Mobile. P.O. Box 68, Sandy Point, Va. 22577. Term 2021
Vice Chair:  Bruce Miller, Special Projects  2020
Secretary:  Walter Norris  2019
Treasurer:  Vikki Ravinskas 2022
Fundraising:  Vanessa Hummel  2022
Membership and Cuisine:  Ann Lewis  2022
Angel Gathering: Rosemary Wilson  2022
Maintenance: James A. "Jimmy" Moss, Duck Derby 2022
Landscaping: Turner Waughtel 2020
Groundskeeping: Robert M. Bailey, IV
Attention to Detail: Kathleen Quick
 Kinsale, Va. 22488

Staff and Waterways contact info
Museum Director Lynn Norris,
best reached by PERSONAL I-phone: you can both phone and text this (804) 472-2013 or try Museum (804) 472-3001 on Fridays and Saturdays 10-5
Kinsale Museum, MAILING ADDRESS: Box 307, 449 Kinsale Rd., Kinsale, Va. 22488.

What items came to shore in Port of Kinsale?
Kinsale is the oldest customs port on the south side of the Potomac. Taxes were collected here in colonial times and from the 1850's to 1933 steamboats visited every day to ferry freight and passengers from this deepwater port that served a 125-sq. mile area. Farming, forestry and fishing all sent away their harvest chiefly by boat until the bridges were built in the 30's and Perdue Granary still gathers the harvest of myriad area fields of beans and small grains to ship away by barge. War also came by water. The town was attacked from the river both during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. We enlist the aid of visitors to re-enact this, and the tale is available in Harvey Bailey and Norris Parks' Reminiscences.
Why is the Kinsale Museum important to Westmoreland County?
Westmoreland County is the birthplace of our great Nation. The Museum is here to showcase the sense of pride in our community, both past and present, which makes Kinsale a truly special and welcoming destination.