Eerie Nights Ghost Tours aren't only eerie because they stop at historic, plausibly haunted Richmond locales on its walking and 1920s-themed trolley-ride tours. There's another creepy component?the guides. They look undead, thanks to their special-effects makeup and spooky costumes. They act it, too, showcasing their theater chops as they share their suspenseful supernatural stories about the city, like the time a local coffee shop passed off decaf as regular coffee.
Founded in 1831, the same year chief justice John Marshall became its first president and former president James Madison its first honorary member, the Virginia Historical Society began amassing books, manuscripts, and historical objects to preserve the state's past. After moving its collections throughout the state during the Civil War, the society finally settled into the Lee House—the wartime home of General Robert E. Lee's family—in 1893 before moving to the Center of Virginia History in 1959.
The society showcases the state's heritage through long-term and temporary exhibitions such as The Story of Virginia, an American Experience, which contains artifacts from 16,000 years of Virginian history (from prehistory to the present) displayed in 10,000 square feet of galleries. Outside of its museum walls, Virginia Historical Society enlightens the public with educational programs and resources, publications, and rare nickels that caught Thomas Jefferson with his eyes closed.
The Virginia Center for Architecture resides in a house befitting its name. The museum is located in the Tudor-revival Branch House, an 11-story mansion complete with a chapel-like studio, long gallery, and vast library. Today, this 1919 home houses exhibitions on Virginia's livable communities, the ruins from the 1769 Menokin site, and a permanent exhibit on the Branch home itself and its architect, John Russell Pope, who also designed the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives Building.