Virginia history comes alive at this institution.. The Scene A Richmond institution since 1831, the Virginia Historical Society in Battle Abbey (next to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) once focused on confederate military exhibits. Today, the Center has shed that image by expanding its scope with exhibitions on wider-ranging topics like George Washington, the private man vs. the public hero, and the history of slavery. Permanent galleries display rare Virginia treasures including maps, models and portraits. Although the Civil War murals and Confederate-made weaponry are still impressive, don't miss the smaller gems of archeological finds from Colonial and pre-Colonial times. Visitors can trace the development of Virginia from its beginnings, through Word Wars I and II to the present. Highlights include an early dugout canoe, a recreation of Francis Lightfoot Lee's dining room, a Conestoga wagon and a 1918 Richmond streetcar. The archives--the world's largest collection of Virginia history--provide an excellent resource for historical and genealogical research.