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This local history museum was established to preserve and share the history of Saxis Island, which was settled by colonists in 1664, and offers a special emphasis on the history of the maritime trades and people whose livelihoods involved this work throughout the Chesapeake Bay. The museum's mission also includes educating future generations about the Chesapeake Bay's fragile ecosystems, including the risks posed by overfishing in the region. The museum is housed in a renovated 100-year-old white clapboard building that is known as the Old Crockett Store. This building was originally one of a dozen general stores that were located on the island. Today, however, there are no grocery stores in the area, as the number of residents living on Saxis Island has declined. The Saxis Island Museum preserves archival materials and displays historic artifacts for the public, particularly related to oyster harvesting and crab fishing. On Saturdays in the summertime, the museum also hosts duck decoy carving demonstrations with a master craftsman on the museum's front porch.

Saxis Island Museum, located in a renovated 100-year-old general store building

Building, Window, Cloud, Sky

Welcome to Saxis sign

Plant, Sky, Cloud, Natural environment

Saxis Oystermen, circa 1900

Boat, Watercraft, Water, Vehicle

The Saxis Island Museum was incorporated in 1950 as a non-profit educational organization to document the history of Saxis Island, which is located on the eastern shore of Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay. Saxis Island is technically a peninsula rather than an island, as it is connected to mainland Virginia via the Saxis Wildlife Management area. This 5,500-acre protected landscape provides habitat for animals and is comprised of marshland, pine trees, and creeks. It is directly proximate to the Saxis Island Museum.

Beginning in 1608, there was a European presence in the region, as Captain John Smith and his crew reached the coastline of the peninsula and then proceeded to map the area. However, the overall population of Saxis Island has always remained small. At its peak of settlement, between 1910 and 1920, the area housed approximately 600 people. Currently, its estimated population is only around 220 people.

The Saxis Island Museum has a stated mission of educating visitors about the Chesapeake Bay's ecosystems, including the adverse impacts of overfishing. The region has a history of oyster harvesting and crab fishing, which were lucrative throughout the twentieth century. In the 1990s, the soft shell crabs were considered the mainstay of the island's economy and were shipped around the world. Although these trades provided a steady source of income for Saxis Island dwellers, particularly since the early 1900s, these livelihoods have since declined in the twenty-first century due to over-harvesting.

In addition to preserving archival resources, the museum has a range of historic artifacts on display, reflecting the history and daily lives of Saxis watermen, shop keepers, and other residents. During the summer, the museum also offers duck decoy carving demonstrations on the front porch, led by a skilled craftsman. Although the museum's regular hours are somewhat limited, the museum's board members live locally and they have noted that they are often willing to offer visitors a tour, even on days when the museum is not otherwise open.

Saxis Island Museum: Index, Saxis Island Museum. Accessed February 27th 2022.

Saxis Island Museum: About, Saxis Island Museum. Accessed February 27th 2022.

Miles, III, Moody K. . A Brief History of Saxis Island, Accessed February 27th 2022.

Sterling, Bill. Saxis: 'Almost an Island,' A Community with Character, Co-op Living. May 1st 2016. Accessed February 27th 2022.

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Saxis Island Museum

Saxis Island Museum