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 20th 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.
Photo courtesy Mina Habibi/Workhouse Arts Center