Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum
Anne Spencer was a poet, civil rights activist, teacher, librarian, and gardener. A person of mixed race, Spencer represented the intersection of various cultures. Her father was born into slavery and had black, white, and seminole Indian ancestry. Her mother was a child of a former slave and a wealthy Virginian aristocrat. Because she published more than thirty of her poems during her lifetime, she represented the black literary and cultural movement of the Harlem Renaissance. Writing was not her only passion, however. Spencer aided in the formation of the Lynchburg Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In her spare time, she wrote and served on local committees to improve African Americans’ lives amongst legal, social, and economic arenas. Her historic house in Lynchburg, Virginia reflects all of these characteristics and passions she held dearly.
Anne Spencer and her husband, Edward Spencer, owned the two-story modified Queen Anne style residence. The first floor includes a front porch with an alternating pattern and original spencer family wicker chairs. All of the house’s furnishings are almost identical to those owned by Anne Spencer. Consequently, guests can experience the house as if Anne simply left for the store and will return in a few hours. Anne Spencer notably loved color and chose to incorporate it wherever possible in her home, especially in the wallpaper.
The gardens feature an equal amount of color and hospitality. The Hillside Garden Club restored the original Anne Spencer garden in 1983. Although much of the original garden was not possible to reproduce, the garden framework is authentic. The garden even includes many of the bulbs, flowers, and shrubs of the roses that were Anne Spencer’s very own plants. After the publication of the garden restoration in the national magazine, The American Horticulturist, Anne Spencer’s garden became a nationally recognized rehabilitation effort.
With an immense amount of history to explore in both the house itself and its garden, Anne Spencer’s residence is an educational and scenic destination in Lynchburg, Virginia. Today, Anne Spencer remains a very influential literary figure. Her papers, books and photographs are archived in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. Only a little over an hour away, the library is a great stop to learn more about the legacy of Anne Spencer.
Please schedule your tour at least two weeks in advance. Individual and Group tours of the House Museum are by appointment only:
Children under 12: $3.00
College Students with institutional ID: $5.00
For groups of 10 or more persons, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your tour:
Group Rates: Adults: $10.00
College Students with institutional ID: $3.00
Parking available at the Amtrak Kemper Street Station, which is approximately a 5 minuet walk from the house.