Local Man Starts Museum to Preserve Petersburg History

10 years ago, a Petersburg man started an ambitious project, he opened a museum.

A natural disaster forced Richard Stewart to think twice about preserving the history of his community.

Stewart lives on Pocahontas Island just off the Martin Luther King Bridge in Petersburg.

The island is known as the first black community in the United States.

There are a little more than 50 houses on the island, and then there’s the museum Stewart started, the “Richard A. Stewart Black History Museum.”

The museum is filled with artifacts that probably only came about because of a natural disaster, the tornado that hit the Tri-Cities in 1993.

“The tornado in 1993 made all the difference,” Stewart told 8News anchor Ava-joye Burnett. “People came from all over and I said when this is gone, I have to do something about it.”

10 years later, Stewart started the museum in 2003.

Stewart is in his 70s now, but he’s already making plans to continue with this legacy. He wants his daughter to take over in the years to come.

The museum is located at 224 Witten Street on Pocahontas Island in Petersburg. If you would like more information about the museum, call 804-426-5306.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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