Virginia Beach historic house to close, undergo renovations

The Francis Land House in Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach)
The Francis Land House in Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Francis Land House, a 214-year-old plantation home off Virginia Beach Boulevard, is temporarily closing for renovations in January 2019, according to news release from the city’s department of historic houses.

The department does not know exactly how long the historic house will be closed in what officials referred to as “vitally needed repairs and refurbishment.”

The renovations are estimated to cost the city $950,000.

The city’s Department of Aquariums and History Museums and its foundation are proposing to reopen the Francis Land House after the repairs and refurbishment with a new “changing exhibit.”

The new exhibit will change the character of the house from its current early 19th Century motif to a mid-1940s World War II farmhouse.

The change and reinterpretation will be temporary — only 3 to 5 years. The renovation proposal also calls for the “removal and storage of current museum collections” and “new paint and furnishings for a completely interactive experience.”

Currently, the exhibit focuses on the family of Francis Land VI, and visitors can see a first-floor bedroom, parlor and dining area. After the remodel, the exhibit will feature the DeFrees family, who lived in the home during World War II.

The Francis Land House will close Sunday for the remodel — Saturday (Dec. 29) is the last day to visit the house until it reopens.

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