White House of the Confederacy

The White House of the Confederacy is open for in-person and virtual tours.
*White House tour capacity will be at 15 visitors per tour and include the two-floor full tour.

To register for a tour, click here.

Address
1201 E. Clay St.
Richmond, VA 23219
(Directions)

Phone
804–649–1861 ext. 100

At the White House of the Confederacy

Built in 1818, this National Historic Landmark served as the Confederate Executive Mansion during the war. Guided tours of the restored house–the elegant public rooms as well as the private living quarters–explore the lives of the people who lived and worked there.
Reservations
Due to the limited capacity of our tours, we strongly encourage that you purchase your tickets ahead of time.
Parking
The White House is surrounded by the VCU Health facilities. Parking is free for visitors and is available at the MCV Visitor Parking Deck on 12th Street.
Accessibility
Due to the historic nature of the home, the White House of the Confederacy is not accessible to wheelchairs and walkers of any size as all entries to the house have stairs. We do offer virtual guided tours of the House on the third Wednesday of every month at 4:30 PM (EST) (See below).

Ticket Information

The ACWM offers guided tours of the home

Visitors will have the opportunity to walk through the home with a trained ACWM guide and take pictures while experiencing what life was like for those who lived and worked at the White House of the Confederacy. Tours of the White House of the Confederacy last 45 minutes. White House tour capacity will be at 15 visitors per tour and include the two-floor full tour.

TOUR TIMEs

MonDay & Thursday

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

tuesday & Wednesday

11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Friday – sunday

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM


Completed in 1818, the house at the corner of 12th and Clay Streets was built for Dr. John Brokenbrough. The architectural style, as well as supporting evidence, points to Robert Mills as its designer. The home passed through two other owners before Lewis D. Crenshaw, a wealthy Richmond flour merchant, purchased it in 1857. Crenshaw made major changes to the house, adding the third story, gas lighting, and a bathroom, and completely redecorating the interior. 

When Richmond became the Confederate capital in May 1861, the City Council began a search for a home for Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President. Mr. Crenshaw offered his house, complete with all its furnishings, to the city for just under $43,000. The city, then, rented the house to the Confederate government. In August 1861, Jefferson Davis, his wife Varina, and their three young children moved in.

During the war, the house functioned as both an official residence and a family home. The Davises, however, were not the only occupants. There was a staff of twelve to fifteen enslaved and free servants, some of whom lived on the property. At least three of the enslaved individuals—James Pemberton, Betsey, and Robert Brown—were brought to the house by the Davises. Other enslaved workers were hired out, or leased, from people in the area. 

Just prior to Richmond’s fall to U.S. forces, the Davises left the house and fled south. After the Union army marched into Richmond, Major General Godfrey Weitzel set up his headquarters in the home on April 3, 1865. The next day, President Abraham Lincoln spent about two hours in the house, meeting with Weitzel and others. Lincoln’s visit occurred just five days before Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses Grant and just ten days before his assassination.

For the next five years, the house served as a residence for U.S Army officers as they administered Reconstruction. After Virginia was readmitted to the Union in 1870, the army returned the house to the city. The city used the house as a public school—Central School— for the next 20 years.

In 1890, Richmond leaders decided to demolish the house in order to build a new school. However, a group of women organized as the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and intervened. They acquired the house and began collecting items associated with the Confederacy, opening the Confederate Museum in 1896. 

The house served as the museum until 1976. It then underwent an extensive 12-year restoration project, and, in 1988, the house opened to the public as The White House of the Confederacy, a name seldom used during the war but chosen to help identify the role the house played. 

Today, visitors are treated to an immersive experience as interpretive staff lead them through two floors, fully furnished with period items, many of which were in the home during the war. Visitors learn about the impact of the war on the individuals—black and white, enslaved and free—who lived and worked in the home and about Abraham Lincoln’s visit. Information of the servant staff can be found on our online exhibit, “In Service and Servitude.” The legacies of the American Civil War are still with us today and can be explored in the online exhibit, “House of the Lost Cause.”


Current Exhibits

House of the Lost Cause

Due to ongoing maintenance, this exhibit is temporarily closed to the public.

House of the Lost Cause Virtual Exhibit: Explore how the Lost Cause developed through people associated with the White House of the Confederacy.

Through this exhibit, the American Civil War Museum explores the development of the Lost Cause and its complexities, with an awareness of how current culture was affected. Personal items of Jefferson Davis and his daughter, Winnie Davis will be on display.