Waynesboro Heritage Museum shining a spotlight on the history of area churches

The year 2021 is history.

However, for those looking to dive deeper into Waynesboro’s storied history than just this past year, the Waynesboro Heritage Museum located downtown just off of West Main Street is still open to visitors this holiday season.

For Shirley Bridgeforth, the president of the board of directors for the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation, and museum archivist Karen Church, there are stories to be learned all throughout the museum’s halls.

Whether its classic Fishburne Military School uniforms and photographs, to Waynesboro’s role in the Civil War, to past relics from Basic City, the museum has it.

However, there are some current displays, also called “rotating exhibits,” that won’t be up forever in the museum.

“The rotating exhibit has been a real plus to the community because we are able to look at what we have or what the community has and pick topics over the years,” Church said. “They [are] usually up for six months to a year because it’s a lot of work to get one up.”

The current rotating exhibit at the museum focuses on the churches of Waynesboro, of which there are more than 57 in the city, according to Bridgeforth. Everything from photos and historical information, to old pieces of stained glass is available for residents and history lovers to enjoy.

“At least 80% of the artifacts belong to the local churches,” Church said. “Four of the churches in Waynesboro are over 220 years old. It’s a wonderful history to tell.”

The exhibit, which began July 15, will end Feb. 15.

“It’s really good to have that,” Bridgeforth said. “We have so many people that are transits coming into the area. They come right here and they get to learn, and then they keep on coming back because they’re learning more and more. [It’s] kind of neat that they know to come here to get that background on the city.”

While the rotating exhibit on the church has some time to go before it’s taken down in a month, Church and Bridgeforth have already decided on what they want to display next.

“The next exhibit is going to be on the tunnel that just opened,” said Church, referencing the Crozet tunnel. “We have some artifacts from the actual digging of the tunnel.”

Church and Bridgeforth said the museum is looking for sponsors for the exhibit.

Any Waynesboro residents or locals who think they have something to contribute to the exhibit can get in touch with the museum, as Church said she will gladly discuss any and all artifacts and/or relevant family history that some might have in relation to the tunnel.