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Alexandria Black History Museum
Alexandria,  VA
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Kerr Place ESVHS
Onancock, VA

KER PLACE. This refined Federal house was purchased by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society in 1960 to serve both as a historic house museum and its administrative headquarters. A Virginia Historic Landmark, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A prosperous merchant-planter John Shepherd Ker and his wife, Agnes Drummond Corbin Ker, built Ker Place between 1799 and 1801.

Fine Flemish-bond brickwork and notable wood trim on the pediment and the architrave surrounding the doors are notable features of this elegant three bay, two-storey house. Meticulous restoration work has continued since the Historical Society acquired it. The exemplary Federal interior woodwork is decorated with a variety of faux finishes including marble and mahogany graining. Composition ornamentation on mantels, crown mouldings and chair rail add to the sophisticated elegance of the rooms. Careful research, paint analysis and replication of the first floor colors and faux finishes were completed before 2000. Each room has a different color scheme and style of painted marble on its baseboards. These rooms were the height of fashion and sophistication when completed in 1801, and the period furnishings collected by the Society complement them.

A more recent addition to the now maturing landscape is an herb and kitchen garden designed and maintained by the Master Gardeners of the Eastern Shore. With a wide variety of herbs that were traditionally used in medicine and cooking, the garden is laid out with traditional shell-lined paths. Each year brings a new batch of Master Gardener trainees to maintain, refresh and plant new selections in this useful and educational garden. A brochure describing the plants and their uses is available and the plants are labeled for easy identification.

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The proceeds from Shop for Museums will be used for the maintenance and upkeep of Ker Place.

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