White House of the Confederacy
White House tour capacity will be at 18 visitors per tour and include the two-floor full tour.
1201 E. Clay St.
Richmond, VA 23219
804–649–1861 ext. 300
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.
Guided Tours & Ticket Information
The ACWM offers guided tours of the Historic home
During the White House of the Confederacy tour, visitors will have the opportunity to walk through two floors of the house with a trained guide from the American Civil War Museum. They are permitted to take pictures while experiencing the lifestyle of the people who lived and worked in the White House of the Confederacy. The tour will last for 50 minutes and can accommodate up to 18 visitors per tour.
Due to the limited capacity of our tours, we strongly encourage that you purchase your tickets ahead of time.
The VCU Health facilities surround the White House. Parking is free for visitors and is available at the VCU Medical Center Parking Deck (529 N. 12th Street, Richmond, VA 23219). Parking in this deck is free for museum visitors with validation. Validations are available at the information desk located at the back of the White House of the Confederacy. Museum visitors should bring their parking ticket inside to get them validated for free. For more information, click here.
Accessibility: Due to the historic nature of the home, the White House of the Confederacy is not physically accessible to wheelchairs and walkers of any size, as all entries to the house have stairs. However, wheelchair users can take the tour via Zoom as their traveling companion tours with an iPad. If you are a wheelchair user and wish to visit the home without the aid of a companion, please call (804) 649-1861 ext. 121 at least 48 hours before your desired visit time to arrange a virtual tour.
When you see a location or organization with a VisitAble Advocate Certification, you can be assured that the location or organization has been trained to serve its visitors with disabilities best.
Interested in visiting multiple ACWM locations? The ACWM values our visitors!
Allow us to add value to your visit and receive discounted admission to multiple locations with a multi-site pass. Visitors can use a multi-site pass to visit multiple sites on the same day or redeem admission to a single site at a later date. Admission to each site can only be redeemed once. For additional questions or assistance with booking, contact our front desk at 1-(804)-649-1861.
*At this time, the multi-site pass discount can only be applied when purchasing tickets at our front desk.
Discounted Admission Offers:
The Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums (ROAM) Reciprocal Membership Program is a network of museums in North America and beyond who extend the benefit of reciprocal free admission to one another’s members (as determined by each museum individually). Learn more about free admission eligibility here.
The North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association is an extensive network of hundreds of cultural institutions across the United States. It connects their memberships for unprecedented access to arts, science, history, botanical gardens, and more. Learn about free admission eligibility here.
About the White House of the Confederacy
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 on the servant staff can be found on our online exhibit, “In Service and Servitude.”
Shop White House of the Confederacy
Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia
Love & Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss
White House of the Confederacy Puzzle
“Find Yourself In History” ACWM Logo Shirt
White House Of The Confederacy Multi-Tool
White House of the Confederacy Flask (8oz)
White House of the Confederacy Souvenir Coin
ACWM White House Of The Confederacy Pocket Watch
The White House of the Confederacy: A Pictorial Tour