There are five small “house” museums on the grounds of the Old City Cemetery that interpret the history of the Cemetery, the City of Lynchburg, and the surrounding counties. Each museum, except the Mourning Museum, is designed to be self-guided. They can be experienced at your own pace anytime the Cemetery gates are open. [The Mourning Museum is inside the Cemetery Center and is only open when the Center is open.] Recorded audio messages and/or brochures help tell the stories of these unique museums.
Chapel and Columbarium
The Cemetery’s newest museum honors the many religious leaders buried there since 1806 and the two Central Virginia chapels after which it was modeled. The lower-level Columbarium contains 288 niches for inurnment and 12 crypts for entombment, reopening the Cemetery to the general public for the first time in over 40 years. The Chapel and Columbarium were built in 2005-2006 to commemorate the Cemetery’s bicentenary.
Pest House Medical Museum
This two-room, restored building depicts conditions in Lynchburg’s “House of Pestilence” during the Civil War, as well as the medical office of Lynchburg’s beloved country doctor, John Jay Terrell. Medicinal herbs are planted close by.
Hearse House and Caretakers’ Museum
This museum contains the turn-of-the-century hearse owned by W. D. Diuguid Funeral Director and Embalmer of Lynchburg, the second oldest funeral home in the United States. Also on display is a Lynchburg-made Thornhill Wagon, many hand tools used to care for the Cemetery, and an exhibit of Cemetery gravemarkers and gravestone carvers.
Station House Museum
This depot was the C&O Railway Station at Stapleton, Amherst County, Virginia, from 1897 to 1937. It was reconstructed here to interpret the rich railroad history found in Lynchburg and the Cemetery. Interior furnishings reflect the WWI era.
One room of the Cemetery Center is a small museum of 19th- and 20th-century American mourning customs. Permanent exhibits interpret mourning attire, hairwork jewelry, the evolution of coffins and embalming, and funeral and mourning etiquette.