Gordonsville Business Directory
Our directory contains listings for local businesses and friends of the The Exchange Hotel. Please take a moment to look and see if you have a listing. If so, you can claim it. Claiming your listing will allow you to edit, and keep the information up-to-date. In addition, you will be able to upload photos, and get performance status details.
|Mon - Thurs||10 - 4 pm|
|Saturday||10 - 4 pm|
|Sunday||1 - 4 pm|
|All Major Holidays
(i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter)
The Museum building, a National Historic Landmark, is not handicap accessible, and takes approximately 1+ hours to explore the three levels of exhibitions.
|Day Tours (Self-Guided)|
|Children (8 - 12)||$3.00|
|Children (7yrs. & under)||Free|
|Evening Tours (Public)|
|* Friday Nights Only : 8pm - 12pm||$25.00|
|* 8 Person Minimum - Reservation required.|
| * Check our Event Calendar for scheduled dates.
* Check our Evening Tours page for additional information.
| * Must be 16 or older.
* Guests under 16 must be approved prior
to the night of the tour.
The Civil War Medical Museum at the Exchange Hotel contains exhibitions on the history of Gordonsville as a railroad town, the elegance of the Exchange Hotel and its transformation and remarkable history as the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital with its medical and Civil War artifacts.
Three floors of displays in an 1860 railroad hotel retakes visitors in time. The Georgian architecture with its verandas and second-floor entry steps are reminiscent of Hotel days of a bygone era.
The Museum houses a world-renowned collection of artifacts relating to medical care during the Civil War. Among the many artifacts currently on display are surgical instruments used by Confederate medical staff, various pharmaceutical bottles and containers, medical knapsacks and panniers, stretchers and litters, prosthetic devices, and dental tools.
The Museum displays of period furnishings and surgical artifacts remind the visitor of the eras when the building served as a Hotel and then as a Battlefield Receiving Hospital-the scene of untold agony and death, the building survived the conflict and is the only Receiving Hospital still standing in Virginia.
During the reconstruction period, the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital served the newly freed slaves as a Freedman's Bureau. On display are the original letters from the students to their teacher, court cases adjudicated in the building and other period items.
Historic Gordonsville, Inc. acquired and restored the property in 1971. It was recognized and placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1973 and acknowledged as an African-American Memorial Site in June of 2002.
Before the Civil War, the Exchange Hotel with its high ceiling parlors and grand veranda welcomed passengers from the two rail lines: the Virginia Central Railroad and the Alexandria Railroad. Soon war began. Troops, supplies, and the wounded were transported on these railroads to Gordonsville. The Exchange Hotel became the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital which provided care for 70,000 soldiers, both Confederate and Union. In the reconstruction period, this hospital served the newly freed slaves as a Freedman's Bureau. As the United States healed and the railroads boomed, this elegant building returned to its role of the hotel. Now fully restored, the hotel is a museum dedicated to the Civil War era.
|Focus on the postcard rack on the table near the opposite end of the gift shop. You will see it spin about 3/4th turn by itself.|
Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) are sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices that have been either unintentionally recorded or intentionally requested and recorded. The audio clips below are EVPs which were captured during evening tours held at the Exchange Hotel.
|Is that a cold drink?|
|Don't hit me anymore!|
Captured during the 2017 Paracon Investigation
Gift Shop (extended audio)
Captured during the 2017 Paracon Investigation
An elegant stopping place in the 1860’s as waist-coated gentlemen and hoop-skirted ladies strolled about the spacious, high-ceilinged parlors and other public rooms, into the central hall made notable by a broad staircase with a handsome balustrade.
The Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum building is an example of at least two strong architectural influences from Europe.
Behind those lovely, shady porches is a classic brick Georgian building with a central staircase with central halls on each of the two upper floors. Two rooms open off each side of these halls. The lower floor, a traditional English basement, contained the hotel dining/tavern room.
James Deetz describes this architectural form in his book, “In Small Things Forgotten - The Archaeology of Early American Life”
“Strictly formal in its adaptation of classical architectural detail, the Georgian was rigidly symmetrical and bilateral, both in facade and floor plan. The classical Georgian house has a central hall that separates two sets of two rooms each. From the front, it exhibits strict bilaterality and balance: a central doorway flanked by paired evenly spaced windows and a central second-story window directly over the door. These windows have multiple panes and sliding sashes in contrast to the leaded casement windows of medieval type used in early vernacular houses."
Some alterations to the classic Georgian style are obvious in the porches and the basement tavern room. These modifications make sense when the building's function, as a hotel catering to railroad passengers, is considered--as well as the need to shield the windows from the hot summer sun.
The exterior of the museum presents an Italianate appearance in accord with its 1859 construction date. The Italianate design exerted a strong influence on American vernacular architecture and was at its most popular during the period just before the Civil War. The monograph, “What Style Is It? ‘, published by the Historic American Buildings Survey, National Trust for Historic Preservation, describes the Italianate style ‘as having several distinctive characteristics: a square house with low roofs, overhanging eaves with decorative brackets, and arcaded porches’. All these features are incorporated in the Exchange Hotel.
Georgian and Italianate building plans were distributed by means of design catalogs from England and Europe and were used by professional builders there, as well as in America. The local builder responsible for The Exchange Hotel's construction created an amalgam of styles, which work together to give us the building in use today. The resulting structure is a beautiful, stately building both inviting and architecturally intriguing.
Historic Gordonsville, Inc., acquired and restored the property in 1971, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (.pdf) August 14, 1973.
The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum is managed and maintained by Historic Gordonsville, Inc. with the help of dedicated volunteers. Historic Gordonsville is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit institution that depends on the generous support of individuals, grants, foundations and corporations. We do not currently receive any line item funding directly from the county, city, state or federal government. Historic Gordonsville Inc. is organized to restore and preserve the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum. Your financial commitment ensures that the legacy of The Exchange Hotel and those that provided comfort and care to the sick and injured during the Civil War will live on. Making your gift to The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum is a great way you can support our educational, restoration, research and curatorial missions. There are a variety of ways you can help.
The museum depends on the volunteer efforts of the community to keep it operational. Do you have a passion for history, spending time with like-minded individuals and the desire to help preserve a National Treasure? The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum has many volunteer positions available. It is our love of history and our respect of the past that inspire us to preserve it for future generations. If you feel you would like to be involved as a volunteer, please contact us using the form below or you may call us at 540.832.2944. If you don't see an area listed that you feel your gifts and talents could be used, please let us know.
Monetary donations are used for further restoration, renovation, and other operational expenses of the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum, side building known as the "Summer Kitchen", and the Freight Depot building. Your generous donations are greatly appreciated.
Click here to make a donation
If you have any questions regarding the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum, please use the following ways to contact us:
|By Mail||The Exchange Hotel
Civil War Medical Museum
400 South Main Street
Gordonsville, Virginia 22942
If you are interested in purchasing tickets for our Evening Tours, please check our Events Calendar first to make sure the tour day is available.
To schedule your Evening Tour, go to our Evening Tours page. If you have a unique situation that is not covered on our Evening Tours page, please use the form below to contact us.