91 Years of Prison History at Lorton

Museum Hours during Virginia Forward Phase II:
Saturday Noon – 5:00 PM

The Lucy Burns Museum is featured on the Alliance of American Museums website blog. Click here to read the story.

In 2018, the Workhouse Arts Center completed renovation of a 10,000 square foot barracks building on campus to house the Lucy Burns Museum.  The museum is open and in an installation of professional history exhibits telling 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 engages 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 allows 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.


Entry to the Lucy Burns Museum is free.

We offer tours of the cell area at the following rates:


0-12 years: Free
Over 12 years old: $5.00


Youth groups: Free

Groups less than 15 people:
$100 (does not include cell area access)
$150 (includes cell area access)

Groups of 16-20 people:
$150 (does not include cell area access)
$200 (includes cell area access)

Groups of 21-30 people:
$300 (flat fee, includes cell area access)

For groups over 30 people, please contact 703-584-2917


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

Group Tour Sign Up

100 Years Later: How Women Got the Right to Vote
Girl Scout Gold Award Suffrage Centennial Event

On August 18, Emma Skog, local South County High School student and Girl Scout, will host her Gold Award project called “100 Years Later: How Women Got the Right to Vote.” For her project, she developed children’s educational materials for the new Lucy Burns Museum in Lorton Virginia. Many people may not realize that women suffragists were imprisoned – simply for peacefully protesting. When the public gained knowledge of how harshly these brave women were treated there, more people began to empathize with the suffragists, leading to a turning point in history.

On Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 2:00 OR 7:00 pm, she will host a 30-45 minute long virtual session where attendees will:

  • Learn about Lucy Burns (a notable suffragist)
  • See a time travel puppet show about the women’s moment
  • Hear my interview with Laura McKie, the Lucy Burns Museum director
  • Participate in a game about women’s firsts

Participants will also receive fun activities they can complete at home including:

  • Women’s rights crossword puzzle
  • Women’s Suffrage word
  • Decorate your own Lucy Burns Paper Doll
  • Yellow rose craft project

The first 300 attendees who complete the follow up survey will receive a free, commemorative patch with the Lucy Burns Museum logo!

To sign up, email with the following information:  your name, your troop number, which session you’d like to attend, the number of attendees, and email addresses for all attendees. You will receive a confirmation email and a meeting invite a few days before the August 18th event. If interested, please respond soon as spaces are limited.

Lucy Burns Museum Virtual Tour

Suffragist Story - Mary Nolan

Suffragist Story - Rose Winslow

Suffragist Story - Inez Milholland

Suffragist Story - Dorothy Day

We Demand Coloring Book

The Library of Virginia’s current exhibition, We Demand: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia commemorates the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote. View the exhibit here. 

As part of this exhibit they have created a Suffrage Coloring Book! Download it here. Color your favorite pages and then share photos of them with us on social media! Use the hashtags #LucyBurnsMuseum #SuffrageColoringBook #ColorOurCollections and tag @LibraryofVA and @WorkhouseArts.

Thank you to the Library of Virginia for creating this fun activity to learn about the Suffragist Movement!

Lucy Burns Museum VIP Opening

Stories Behind the Prison Wall

Women's History: Lucy Burns Museum Opens at the Workhouse


Donate to the Lucy Burns Museum
Contact our Development Department at 703-584-2986 or click the button to make an online donation.


Volunteer at the Lucy Burns Museum
Contact our volunteer coordinator at 703-584-2900 or click the button to view available volunteer opportunities.


Hours and Directions

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