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Welcome To The Norfolk Historical Society

Committed to preserving the diverse history of the Norfolk, Virginia area.

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  • Friday, September 11, 2020 6:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Norfolk Historical Society’s Board of Directors convened a digital meeting September 8, 2020 at 5:15 pm. Among its actions, the Board acknowledged the ongoing suspension of our member programming due to the impact of the coronavirus. The Board adopted a motion approving a special membership promotion to be in effect through December 31, 2020, and made it retroactive to this past July 1 for those who have transacted new or renewed memberships in that period. Through the end of this year, any member renewing their membership at any level  will receive a second year of membership absolutely free of additional payment. The 2nd year free promotion also applies to applications for new membership submitted with payment by the end of this year.

    We’ve missed you these last several months and look forward to seeing you again as conditions allow. In the meantime, we are working continuously on new ways to bring programs to you by way of virtual meetings and webinars. 

    Any questions or comments may be sent to

    Sign Up Now!

  • Monday, May 04, 2020 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To all members and visitors. All Norfolk Historical Society events that were planned for 2020 have been temporarily cancelled until further notice. The safety and wellbeing of our members is of the highest priority and until we can safely gather again, our programs and events will have to be put off. Please stay safe. 

  • Monday, January 06, 2020 10:22 AM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Our first members-only mini trip of 2020 took us to Norfolk's Chrysler Museum of Art on January 4 for a guided tour of the exhibition Thomas Jefferson, Architect. Despite a little rain,  nearly two dozen members enjoyed learning a little more about this Founding Father and his contributions to American architecture. Stay tuned for news about upcoming adventures!


  • Monday, June 10, 2019 5:19 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Our first members-only mini-trip to a local historic site was a hit! On Saturday, June 1, 25 folks braved the rain to meet at Fort Monroe for a 2-hour tour of the Casemate Museum, including a peek at the former Officers' Club space not usually open to visitors. Robert Kelly, our host and guide, filled our heads with history and stories that left us a little more proud to know this Historic Treasure is right in our backyard. Stay tuned for news about our next adventure!



  • Monday, September 10, 2018 1:24 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    The program "Omar Nelson Bradley: America's GI General," scheduled for Wednesday, 12 September 2018, has been cancelled because of the impending hurricane, expected to hit here by Thursday. The program will be rescheduled for Wednesday, 10 October 2018, at 7:00 PM. 

  • Friday, July 13, 2018 10:49 AM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    James T. (Jim) Guy, oldest son of former NHS President and lecture series founder Louis Guy, made our Second Wednesday program on July 11 a memorable one, and left all of us wanting more.

    Appearing as George Washington, Jim spoke to a near-capacity audience, bringing little-known stories about the future president's early years, and the many twists and turns his life took before he found the path that would lead him to military and political fame, and his role as Father of His Country.  

    Jim promises to return in 2019 to bring us the "rest of the story." Many, many thanks to Jim - your dad would be so proud!

  • Thursday, February 15, 2018 12:18 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Dr. Richard Brown spoke to an enthusiastic audience last evening on the history of medicine in Early Virginia, touching on the extensive use of plants and herbs in treating ailments. While some Colonial-era  remedies sound questionable today, others - such as digitalis and quinine - are still in our medical vocabulary. Still others, such as lavender, rosemary, thyme and mint, as found in most modern herb gardens. And laudanum was once thought to be good, very good - if it didn't kill you first. Thank you, Dr. Brown, for a lively and informative presentation, and for the list of Colonial herbs you provided as a handout. 


  • Friday, February 02, 2018 4:15 PM | Peggy McPhillips (Administrator)

    Norfolk Historical Society

                                         Annual Meeting—21 January 2018

                                       St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall

    The annual meeting of the Norfolk Historical Society was called to order by Mrs. McPhillips at 2:32 p.m.  Board members present were:  Joanne Berkley, Dick Boutwell, Anne Brockenbrough, Bill Davis, Steve Forrest, Carter Furr, Jim Gildea, Greta Gustavson, John Lindberg, Peggy McPhillips, Chris Melhuish, Bill Miner, Mike O’Hearn and Troy Valos.

    Mrs. McPhillips expressed the Board’s appreciation to the Church for allowing us to have the annual meeting in the Parish Hall.  She then gave a recap of 2017 and highlighted the two scholarships given to Access College Foundation in memory of George Tucker and Louis L. Guy and the monthly LLG History Series.  Mrs. McPhillips also noted that an initiative for 2018 is to have Fort Norfolk open more frequently and also to open the Powder Magazine.  Mr. Boutwell, membership chair, stated that it the committee’s goal to increase membership in 2018.

    Financial Report

    Mr. Gildea reviewed income and expenditures during the 2017 fiscal year.  He stated that the Foundation account was doing well because of a successful year for the stock market.  He added that there were 172 paid memberships for 2017 and that there are 121 new and/or renewing memberships to date for 2018.  Mr. Gildea then reviewed projected income and expenses for 2018.  He noted that the NHS commitment to the Slover Library will be completed in 2018 and discussion has taken place concerning new ideas.

    Nominating Committee

    Mrs. McPhillips presented the report of the Nominating Committee for 2018-2020, submitted by Mr. Perreault, as follows:  President, Peggy McPhillips; Vice President, Mark Perreault; Treasurer, Jim Gildea; and Secretary, Greta Gustavson.  Board members nominated were as follows:  Joanne Berkley, Dick Boutwell, Anne Brockenbrough, Bill Davis, Caroline Doonan, Russell Evett, Chip Finch, Steve Forrest, Bob Garris, Craig Jones, John Lindberg, Joyce McKeever, Chuck McPhillips, Chris Melhuish Bill Miner, Mike O’Hearn, and Troy Valos.  After no nominations were received from the floor, a motion was made by Mrs. Berkley to accept the slate of officers and board as presented.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Fanshaw and unanimously approved.

    NHS Work Program

    Mr. Miner briefly reviewed the NHS Work Program for 2018 and said that copies were available for review.  He added that a tour of the Church would be conducted following the meeting.

    Membership Committee

    Mr. Boutwell said that it is the committee’s intent to make membership as inclusive as possible and that he will be sending letters to members in the near future to match members with various NHS program areas.  Mrs. McPhillips encouraged those present to pick up extra brochures to give to friends and neighbors to make them aware of NHS and its various activities.

    Fort Norfolk

    Mr. Forrest stated that the Fort will continue to be open on Sundays between 12 noon-4:00 p.m. during summer months.

    St. Paul’s Archaeological Work

    Mr. Miner reported that the majority of the work has been taking place in the southeast corner of the churchyard in search of the footprint of the 1699 church.  A report will be forthcoming on the work undertaken in 2017.


    Mrs. McPhillips announced that, due to personal illness, the speaker could not be in attendance.  In his stead, Mr. Lindberg gave a presentation on Fort Norfolk similar to that given to civic leagues and other interested groups.  He began the presentation by playing of the recording of the National Anthem as it would have been played during the Civil War.  It was recorded by the Gosport Brass Band, of which he is a part, and he added that the band would be interested in playing at a benefit for the Fort.  Mr. Lindberg then gave a history of the Fort and its significance followed by a description and purpose of the Fort’s various structures.  Mr. Lindberg closed the program with a hymn, also recorded by the Gosport Brass Band.  Mrs. Berkley thanked both Mr. Lindberg and Mr. Forrest for the research they have done on Fort Norfolk.  Mrs. McPhillips added that NHS needs to advertise the Fort better.


    Mr. Melhuish gave a brief overview of a project he has regarding the return of the USS Chesapeake’s battle ensign, which was taken from the ship during a battle in the War of 1812.  Estimated costs would be between $20,000 and $30,000 to bring it to the Chrysler Museum of Art for a temporary display.  He is working for this to be an event that engages the community.

    There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:56 p.m.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Greta Gustavson, Secretary


  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015 9:49 AM | Deleted user

    We're glad that you've taken the time to visit the new NHS website and we want to make certain that you get everything out of it that you can!  If you're a member, you should have received an e-mail from the NHS with information on how to access the "Members Only" section of this website.  If you haven't, it is most likely because we don't have your e-mail  address on file.  E-mail us at and provide us with your current e-mail address and we can send you information so that you can explore the site even further!

    Not a member? We'd love to have you join so that you, too, can explore the other parts of the website!  Visit our membership page to learn more about becoming a part of the Norfolk Historical Society! 

  • Friday, November 21, 2014 1:23 PM | Deleted user

    You may have noticed that the NHS website looks a little different from before.   We hope that this new site will allow the Norfolk Historical Society to better inform and interact with the public regarding our activities and purpose.  Through this new site, you can view and register for upcoming events, review past events, and discover other organizations and resources which are relevant to Norfolk history.  You can also join or renew your membership or donate to the Norfolk Historical Society at your convenience! 

    Members will be able to explore exclusive content on this page as well as post to forums where you can discuss various topics regarding Norfolk's past.  If you are a member of the Society, you will be able to access membership directories and modify your profile to keep your information up to date.

    We're still in the process of tweaking and adding to the site.  As you familiarize yourself with the site, we invite your comments so that we might improve it!  Post below or e-mail us.

We welcome you to contact us!  The Norfolk Historical Society maintains space at Historic Fort Norfolk (c. 1810).  We are also available via mail, e-mail, and social media.


Fort Norfolk
810 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510


Norfolk Historical Society
P.O. Box 6367
Norfolk, Virginia 23508-0367

(757) 754-2004


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