A Beloved Building Gets a Makeover

Discover The ARTS at the Haymarket Museum

Photos by Kara Thorpe

As you drive down John Marshall Highway through the town of Haymarket, you can’t help but see the dichotomy of old and new. A bustling growing community with pieces of rich history sprinkled throughout.  Old homes mixed in and around new homes; the historic school building revitalized to include a dance school, offices, commercial kitchens and an exercise studio next to a historic home moved onsite that serves ice cream.  You see historic Winterham restored to its architectural glory now pulsing to the heartbeat of its rock school. And standing alone is the unmistakably tiny white building with the green pitched roof next to the shiny red train caboose – The Haymarket Museum.

Originally built in the 1800s, this historic building has lived many lives.  It was a one room public schoolhouse, where children from Haymarket and surrounding towns gathered to learn. In the early 1900s it became the Haymarket Town Hall and remained so until 2002, when an electrical fire destroyed part of the interior. Town Hall was relocated, and the town repaired the building, doing its best to keep the integrity of its history intact.  It was then that the building became The Haymarket Museum. In it, visitors could view photos of the town through the years and artifacts found during the construction of new communities and roads. However, the museum was run by volunteers, and could only open when they could help, therefore, it had limited viewing hours.

In 2018 the Town reinvented the building once again. When Town Planner and Zone Administrator Emily Lockhart joined the Town of Haymarket, she saw the opportunity to transform the museum, keep its historic integrity and bring the community together.  

Emily’s background is in urban and regional planning and she completed her masters’ thesis on the impact and benefits of bringing arts into communities. She immediately saw the opportunity the museum presented and felt it would be the perfect setting for a rotating art gallery featuring local artists.  

In October, the museum reopened as The ARTS at the Haymarket Museum. Still run on a volunteer basis, it’s now managed by the artist whose work is featured and open a minimum of six hours a week. Each artist has a four to six-week exhibit.  In addition to displaying their work, featured artists can offer workshops and special events, host discussions, and create other opportunities to share their art with the community.

Said Lockhart, “Bringing the arts into the Haymarket community means so much more than just a fun new hangout or gallery; it truly becomes an avenue for our community to express themselves, come together to share common interests, and learn new skills. I am excited that our hometown now offers a new, up and coming art space for residents and local businesses. I look forward to all of the events and exhibits coming in the new year and encourage everyone to come visit.”

The Town of Haymarket serves a large part of Western Prince William County and is excited to offer a small town feel to a larger demographic.  The area is full of shops and schools that cater to the arts and The ARTS at the Haymarket Museum is a natural fit. It is also a wonderful addition to the many community-based parades, concerts and events the Town hosts each year.

Mixed-media artist and owner of Yellow Brick Road Studio Kerry Molina was the first artist to exhibit at the museum.  She hosted a reception to kick off the new space and welcomed many residents on Haymarket Day. At present, The ARTS at the Haymarket Museum is hosting a group of artists who offer displays and workshops in photography, knitting, sewing, embroidery and jewelry.  In the spring, it hopes to feature younger artists from local schools to highlight their talents.

“The ARTS at the Haymarket Museum is a wonderful opportunity for the town to showcase its local talent while giving life to one of the community’s most cherished historic buildings,” said, David Leake, mayor of the Town of Haymarket. “The museum has served many purposes since its construction in 1883 and we are proud to invite our growing arts community to utilize and enjoy it in its new incarnation.”

For more information on The ARTS at the Haymarket Museum, visit TheTownOfHaymaket.org or find it on Facebook at @haymarketmuseum.

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About Francine Barnes 16 Articles
Frannie Barnes is a content writer and editor, and the owner of ForWord Communication. She lives in Gainesville with her husband, three active kids, cat, and dog. To contact Frannie, you can e-mail her at franniebarnes@forwordcommunication.com.

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