The MacCallum More Museum and Gardens is the hidden gem of Chase City. MacCallum More sits nestled amidst the natural flora and fauna on Hudgins Street. The gardens were established in 1929 by Lucy M. Hudgins, wife to Edward W. Hudgins—former Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The gardens have since been cultivated by three generations to become the beauty they are today.
Liz Lowrance, Executive Director of MacCallum More, says that they have, “somewhere near probably 200 different features of plants and flowers. The spring of the year is the best season to visit the gardens, because of the azaleas and dogwoods.” The staff try to keep the gardens blooming as much as possible throughout the year.
The gardens are joined by an arboretum as well as fountains and imported eclectic artworks. Lowrance relays in a video produced by Mecklenburg Tourism, “The Cloister is a piece that was actually brought here from Spain. When it was originally brought here, it was in store down here in the bottom until they got the platform for it to be built on. By the time they got that done, all the numbers had washed off as to what-went-where. So Mr. Hudgens—with pictures and the stone mason—tried to figure out where everything went. We can’t guarantee you they’re in the order they’re supposed to be in.”
The Museum portion of MacCallum More was opened in 1996. The museum hosts a variety of permanent and revolving exhibits and art displays. The five permanent fixtures of the museum include A History of the Thyne Institute; the Arthur Robertson Arrowhead which features artifacts from the Archaic to the Woodland Periods; The Mecklenburg Hotel Collection which includes items that were rescued from the four-day fire then donated; the Estes Exhibit; and the Samurai Warrior—a statue that was featured in the gardens until he was blown over and shattered, but was then restored by the Smithsonians. The Museum also features portraits of George and Narcissa Endly, co-founders of Chase City.
MacCallum More just announced an art show to take place beginning on Sunday, September 20 through Thursday, October 29. The show will feature long-time friend of the museum and gardens, Mr. Eldridge Bagley. An outdoor reception with the artist will be held on September 20 from 3:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. in the Gardens. Reception is free and open to the public. No more than six people will be allowed inside of the museum at a time due to COVID-19 precautions. For more information on the exhibition, visit the MacCallum More Museum and Gardens Facebook page.
MacCallum More Museum and Gardens is open for self-guided tours Monday through Saturday from 10:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. The office and gift shop are currently closed due to COVID-19 measures. The museum can be contacted at (434) 372-0502. The Visit Mecklenburg VA Youtube channel features a new video posted two months ago showcasing MacCallum More.