The Reuel B. Pritchett Museum is a general history branch and repository of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library at Bridgewater in Bridgewater, VA. Construction on the larger Alexander Mack Memorial Library – named after the founder of the Church of the Brethren – began in 1962 and the facility is now home to more than 180,000 books, periodicals, DVDs, videos, … audio books,” access to 20,000 electronic books and 15,000 online periodicals.
According to the informational brochure, the Reuel B. Pritchett museum was founded in 1954 when Pritchett, a minister of the Church of the Brethren, “bequeathed his large collection of historic and interesting articles of antiquity” to Bridgewater College. With other generous donors having donated artifacts from China, Africa, India, and the Philippines, the collection itself is almost indescribable in its variety of 10,000 items, however, “many items relate to Bridgewater College, Church of the Brethren history Rockingham County, and the Shenandoah Valley”.
Among the items in the collection, are:
• American Civil War, Native-American and pioneer life artifacts
• Historic coinage and currency
• Historic weaponry
• More than 175 rare books, including bibles, the three-volume Venice Bible of 1482, and one of the largest collections of eighteenth-century Christopher-Sauer printed Bibles
• Greater than 1,000 antique bottles and glassware
• A saber-tooth tiger skull and mastodon teeth from prehistoric times
• A cuneiform brick from King Nebuchadnezzar’s time, circa 600 BC
• A land deed signed by Thomas Jefferson
• Various Church of the Brethren missionary memorabilia from China, India, Nigeria, the Middle East, the Philippines, Nepal and the Caribbean.
Reuel B. Pritchett Museum
Cole Hall, Lower Level
Bridgewater, VA 22812
Hours of Operation:
Open Monday – Friday, 1 PM to 4:30 PM
Museum Entrance off East College Street OR from the ground floor of the Kline Campus Center.
Reuel B. Pritchett Museum tourist pamphlet, Bridgewater College, undated.