Tuesday – Saturday: 10AM – 4PM
Sunday and Monday: Closed
Holidays: Closed

Phone: 757.678.5550

Please call before you visit around holidays! The museum closes for several days around July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.


The street address for GPS is: 7295 Young Street, Machipongo, VA.

The BIC is located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, just 20 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and 10 miles south of the town of Exmore, between mile markers 90 and 91 on the western side of Route 13.  

The entrance to the driveway is on Young Street, directly across the highway from the Machipongo Trading Company, where you can stop for coffee, smoothies or lunch if your historic visit has left you feeling a little hungry.

Look for the brown historical information signs as well as the red buoy and Barrier Islands Center sign.


See what visitors are saying on Trip Advisor:

If you want to know what the Eastern Shore is all about, this is the place to start!!! It is family friendly, the staff is fun and involved in the daily life of the center...What a place to go back in time, from the local watermen, their families, along with the wealthy who hunted and fished in a world that defies time—-Still does....Enjoy !!!
— Lawrence S, Virginia Beach, VA
We stopped here while visiting Cape Charles. It’s right on Rt. 13 and easily accessible to anyone driving by. It was so much more impressive than I expected from a small town museum. The upstairs is divided into rooms that are decorated in a way to make you feel as if you are in a hunting lodge or Victorian hotel. It really brought to life what living on the barrier islands was like. The building itself it an old almshouse which has been very well preserved as well. I highly recommend you stop by especially as it’s free.
— Stephanie, Virginia Beach, VA
Amazing museum full of interesting history and artifacts from the local area. Building itself is a fabulous piece of history, you can just imagine the all the wonderful people who lived there during the years it was a almshouse. Wonderful video about the lives of the last remaining barrier island inhabitants. Lots of great pieces that were rescued from some of the old hunt clubs, businesses and homes of island residents. Gives a real taste of life at that time. Museum has done a great job of collecting and preserving items that could otherwise have been lost forever. The twisted chimney in the attic of the house if definitely worth seeing. No fee to enter but donations are welcomed.
— Andrew F., Kernersville, NC
This place breathes life into the past. It is not your typical boring museum. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the displays are well designed and interesting. Can’t wait to bring the grandchildren here as they will love it!
— John and Angela T, Salisbury, MD
We have been visiting the Virginia Eastern Shore for 20+ years. We have driven past the Barrier Islands Center (BIC) dozens of times, never stopping. It was only recently, with a couple of hours to “kill,” that we stopped by the BIC. And, now, we will revisit and revisit and revisit.

The first thing that you absolutely must do is view the film, “Our Island Home.” Sally, the Director of Education, was on duty the morning we visited. She was extremely helpful in answering questions and elaborating on information provided with some of the exhibits.

The Museum, through its excellent exhibits, illustrates the life of the people who once inhabited the Barrier Islands of Virginia. In addition, there are displays concerning the Hotels and Hunt Clubs that once flourished on the islands.

The BIC is actually housed in a former “Almshouse,” and the entire property is known as the Almshouse Farm. Its history is also presented in the Museum.

Currently, the hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10-4. The Museum is closed for several days around some major holidays.

If we continue to visit the Eastern Shore, as we plan to do, we will again stop at the BIC. Two hours was not enough time to take it all in, and it’s the kind of Museum that you discover/learn new things with each and every visit.
— Urban Guy, Richmond, VA
I recently visited the Center during the Art and Music on the Farm, festival they hosted. What a nice event it was! The music was part of the Crooked Road groups of Virginia, and the Art and local eats were stunning and delicious, My favorite was the local strawberries and yogurt served with a flower topping. I only wish I was able to bring home some plants they were selling.
The heart of the Center is the exhibits and rich history of the great Barrier Islands of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, along with the stories of the waterman and the wonderful folks of the Shore!
If you are by there while you are on Rt 13. I recommend you make a stop. Worth the trip!
This is a very interesting and well-run little museum. There are great old photos and the excellent displays tell much about the history of the Eastern Shore and its outer islands. The people at the museum are very well informed and accommodating. There is a nice little gift shop, too. Watch for their sign on the right of Rt. 13 in Machipongo. When traveling North, the museum is on the left. Definitely worth a stop!!
— AnnieB33 - USA
Our group, three adults, two teenagers and our hound dog, Abby, had a wonderful visit at the BIC. I called ahead to say our dog was visiting the Eastern Shore with us and would it be alright to bring her on the grounds. No, they insisted she come right into the museum with us and then whisked her away to play and explore while we watched a wonderful oral history documentary about Hogg Island. The director and docents are engaging, informed, warm and helpful without hovering in this small, educational and well curated museum. The gift shop features lovely crafts, including handmade quilts and wonderful carved decoys by local carvers. the director talked with me about their philosophy that includes making this museum as accessible and inviting as possible for everyone, including people with disabilities, whom they welcome and learn from. I am so glad we stopped and stayed. At the end of our visit, we were given a complimentary membership, a gift membership, which is given to everyone who expresses interest. I’ll never visit the Eastern Shore without stopping at this terrific Center.
— Mary P. - Silver Spring
My husband and I visited the Barrier Islands/Almshouse on a whim on our way to the Outer Banks. We were absolutely blown away by the museum and kindness of the employees! I would highly recommend the Almshouse for any one looking to learn about local history and capture some great photos . Of course dinner in Cape Charles - afterwards - is a must. :) Thanks ladies !!
— Susie F