Reedville Fishermen's Museum

A small sailboat docked at a pier.
All things sailing are on display at the museum.


Quick Facts
Reedville, VA

Benches/Seating, Dock/Pier, Gifts/Souvenirs/Books, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Information - Maps Available, Information - Ranger/Staff Member Present, Information Kiosk/Bulletin Board, Parking - Auto

The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum is in Northumberland County, Virginia along the banks of Cockrell Creek, a tributary that drains into the lower Chesapeake Bay. The museum stands on land once owned by Captain Elijah Reed. In the mid-19th century, Reed sailed to the Chesapeake Bay from Maine and set up residence and a small menhaden fishery along the creek. There he introduced a method of extracting large quantities of oil from the fish to be used as a lubricant and in lighting, and the leftover bones and carcasses were used as meal and valuable fertilizer. The menhaden fishing industry brought tremendous wealth to Northumberland County and the town of Reedville, which was once known as the wealthiest town in the United States, due to its large income produced by the menhaden industry.

Today, the property is home to the William Walker House, which represents a waterman’s home during the 1800s. This location was the first home of the museum but has now expanded to include a standalone museum and gift shop, a boat shop, model shop, pilot house and several vessel exhibits, two of which are on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The museum hosts a collection of artifacts, items and historical materials that document and explore the history of fishing in the region, dating from early American Indian practices to modern-day oystermen. The museum operates Thursday through Saturday from 11AM to 4PM and Sunday from 1PM to 4PM from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Address: 504 Main Street, Reedville, VA. 

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, Chesapeake Bay

Last updated: July 12, 2023