Plan Your Visit
The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History is located on the historic Main Street in downtown Danville, VA, between Holbrook & Sutherlin Avenues, featuring permanent collections and rotating exhibitions, as well as the Swanson Studio, a Research Center, and the Perkinson Rose Garden. The Museum provides films, as well as self-guided gallery tours of the Camilla Williams Exhibition, the Sutherlin House Museum and 20th Century Art Collection; the Civil War Exhibition and the Civil Rights Histories.
The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History is housed in the former home of Major William T. Sutherlin, who contracted with the architect Frank B. Clopton, in 1859 to construct this Italianate Villa. The Sutherlin Mansion is a Virginia Historic Landmark for its Civil War and Civil Rights histories and is one of the oldest residential buildings in Danville. During the last week of the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was a guest in the mansion. After Mrs. Sutherlin’s death in 1911, the Mansion served as a meeting house for various organizations until 1928, when it became the city’s public “Whites Only” library during segregation.
During the Civil Rights Movement – in early April 1960 – a group of African American students staged a sit-in at the Sutherlin Main Street library. On May 20, 1960 the city closed both the Main Street library at the Sutherlin Mansion, and the African American Library/Grasty Library. Following a ruling in federal court the libraries were reopened in September of 1960.
In 1971, when plans for a new library were underway, the Danville Chapter of the Virginia Museum petitioned the city for use of the residence to establish a museum of fine arts and history. The museum opened in 1974. Today, tours include films and self guided tours of the Camilla Williams Exhibition, the Civil Rights Exhibition, the Historic Sutherlin House and 20th Century Art Collection, a Civil War Exhibit, and changing art exhibits often extended to off campus sites and the DMFAH Satellite Gallery in the 500 Craghead Block, Danville River District.
The gift shop is open whenever the Museum is open.
Due to COVID-19, all guided tours have been cancelled. Self-guided tours are available in the Museum.
- Sutherlin Mansion House Tour
- Camilla Williams Exhibition
- Between the Lines
- Danville Civil War Sites, including Cemetery Sites
- The Movement: Danville Civil Rights
- Hall of Fame
- Cemetery Tours: Danville National Cemetery, Grove Street Cemetery, Green Hill Cemetery - For information about this tour, call: 434.770.1974
- Millionaires' Row - For information about this tour, call: 434.770.1974
- There's a Story Here - Danville Historical Society's Guided Walking Tour
- The Secrets Inside - Danville Historical Society's Guided Walking Tour
Please contact the museum to set up a tour for Family, Corporate, School, University, Senior, or Community Groups. Group tours are provided by advanced week registration only. Group tours of more than 10 will need one group leader and for additional staff guides a fee of $50 will apply. All tours will be capped at 25. Tour guides can be provided if tours are booked a week before arrival. All Cemetery Tours are self-guided only, but information on the cemetery sites will be made available.
For more information about tours please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tour the Italian Villa style mansion built in 1859 that was home to Major William T. Sutherlin and family. Discover the role this historic house played during the final week of the Civil War.
During the Covid-19 crises we would like to make the Sutherlin House Tour available to all and we offer self-guided tours to visitors.
You can also enjoy these online videos:
- Audio & Photo Tour Produced by Joyce Wilburn and David Hutcheson
- Virtual Tour of Sutherlin Mansion by C.B. Maddox
The Camilla Williams exhibition highlights the relationship this New York City Opera diva had with her hometown, Danville, and explores the difficult path to frame in a racially divided South during the Civil Rights protests.
This tour explores the role of Danville and its citizens during the Civil War. Participants will take on the identity of a soldier from the 18th Virginia Company and will learn about their commanding officer, how the ladies of Danville helped prepare them for the army, and what their army career entailed.
Danville Civil War Sites
Visit the Sutherlin Mansion, the Danville National Cemetery, Major Sutherlin’s grave, and more when you go on this guided tour of Danville’s Civil War History.
Due to COVID-19 all guided tours have been cancelled at this time. You are welcome to walk through all the exhibits at the Museum on your own with self-guided tours.
This tour walks you through the evolution of the Danville civil rights demonstrations that began peacefully late in May 1963 when local civil rights leaders organized demonstrations, sit-ins, and marches to protest segregation in all spheres, but especially in municipal government, employment, and public facilities.
Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame was established by the Danville Museum in 1974 to recognize and honor citizens of the area whose achievements have been outstanding.
Due to COVID-19 all guided tours have been cancelled at this time. You are welcome to walk through these Cemeteries on your own.
This tour explains why Union soldiers were in Danville and how they became buried in this cemetery. This tour is very interactive and includes locating gravesites and making grave rubbings.
While strolling through Danville’s oldest cemetery, you will learn the history and lore of some of the city’s earliest inhabitants.
This tour includes information on Civil War and Victorian burial customs, gravestone symbols, architectural features, and glimpses into the past of many noteworthy citizens. This tour involves extensive walking.
Due to COVID-19 all guided tours have been cancelled at this time.
This tour opens with a brief lecture on Victorian architecture and a tour of the Sutherlin Mansion. This is followed with a walking tour of Millionaires' Row. Architectural details will be pointed out along with stories about some of the past residents. This tour does involve walking: wear comfortable shoes.
Danville Historical Society's Guided Walking Tour
Your personal guide will tell stories about the people and buildings on Holbrook Street, where the professional African-American people lived from the late 1800s until the late 1960s.
Your guide will show you: the church where Camilla Williams sang; the houses that were listed in Green Book, the guide for traveling African Americans during segregation; the location of the William F. Grasty Branch of the Danville Public Library; the residence that housed a restaurant for African Americans, and more.
Cost is $10 per person. Reservations required: 434-770-1974
Danville Historical Society’s Guided Walking Tour
Learn little-known facts about the historic buildings and their former residents on or near Millionaires’ Row. An easy 60-90 minute brisk walk takes you into the heart of Danville, Virginia’s Historic District, where you’ll marvel at the beautiful Victorian mansions and churches. Your guide will tell stories about the buildings…and the secrets within their walls.
Cost is $10 per person. Reservations required. 434.770.1974