Sotterley is often asked, “Are your collections original?” When people ask about collections, they usually mean the furniture, paintings, dishes and the like. Collections are part of what the museum preserves because it was the Material Culture of the inhabitants. Sotterley’s historical dates of significance or what we interpret is roughly about 1699-1960.

Types of materials to be collected or preserved are:

1. Household and personal artifacts, furniture, textiles and art.

2. Archaeological objects and sites to include gravesites.

3. Building fabric and structural items, whole buildings or sections of certain buildings, historically reconstructed buildings.

4. Archival/Library Items

5. Landscape Features such as the Colonial Revival Garden and Rolling Road

6. Historic Farm equipment and tools.

Sotterley preserves the material culture that is connected to the people that lived or worked here in that time and place. For those indigenous, enslaved, servants, and farm workers during the period of significance, you can see their material culture in the tools they used, artifacts, and the structures that they lived in that still exist. Oral history, tradition and research, help fill in the gaps to tell their stories.