GRAND OPENING – MAY 9, 2020
(open to the public beginning January 25, 2020)
In 2018, the Workhouse Arts Center completed renovation of a 10,000 square foot barracks building on campus to house the Lucy Burns Museum. By the end of 2019, the Workhouse Arts Center will complete the installation of professional history exhibits to tell the story of the 91 years of prison history and the story of the suffragists who were imprisoned here in 1917 for picketing the White House for women’s right to vote.
The Lucy Burns Museum will engage visitors in an exploration of the history of the Lorton Correctional facilities that operated for a total of 91 years from 1910-2001. From the prison’s founding by President Theodore Roosevelt during the progressive reform era to the current site adaptive reuse project, re-purposing of the property to support an innovative and growing arts center, the museum explores a vast history including an incredible cast of characters of notorious criminals, some of the biggest jazz artists of the 21st century, and activist and suffragists.
As a site on the National Historic Registry, the Workhouse legacy is rich with stories of our American heritage. Suffragists picketing the White House for women’s right to vote were imprisoned and force-fed. Civil rights activists Noam Chomsky and Norman Mailer were imprisoned after peaceful demonstrations in Washington, DC. Notorious criminals were held at the Workhouse like Watergate mastermind G. Gordon Liddy along with local celebrities like Chuck Brown and Petey Greene. Some of our nation’s most remarkable performers like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington performed on the site. These stories have been quietly archived and known locally. The Lucy Burns Museum will allow those stories and many more to be told across the nation.
The Workhouse Arts Center and the Lucy Burns Museum survive because of monetary contributions given to us by our generous community. Tax-deductible donations can be made by check or online. The Lucy Burns Museum is currently a docent/volunteer-led resource for the community and the general public. If you are interested in supporting the Lucy Burns Museum or the Workhouse, please see information below about donating or volunteering.
ABOUT THE WORKHOUSE ARTS CENTER
Located in Lorton, Virginia, on 55 acres once occupied by the historic Lorton Workhouse prison, the Workhouse Arts Center is a vibrant community of visual artists, performing artists, and arts educators working together to serve more than 100,000 visitors annually from communities throughout Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, and throughout the nation. Nearly 100 regional artists create or exhibit their art at the Workhouse, and the Workhouse annually hosts more than 100 arts exhibitions, 300 performances, and 800 arts education classes, in addition to exciting events like Workhouse Fireworks, Second Saturdays, Haunted Trail, and Brewfest. More information about the Workhouse is available online at http://workhouseArts.org.