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About Us

Situated amongst stately old trees, expansive lawns, and the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, our museum gives you a glimpse of one man's vision for education.


The Augusta Military Academy Museum is housed in the original academy buildings in Fort Defiance, Virginia. The museum's extensive collection and exhibits offer a glimpse into the life at AMA, its role in shaping leaders, and its enduring legacy.

Humble Beginnings.

Charles S. Roller began teaching in a small school on the grounds of the neighboring Old Stone Church immediately after the War Between the States.  He then went on to purchase the land South of the church and founded Augusta Male Academy in 1874. In the Civil War, he served in Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart's cavalry and during Reconstruction, he was elected to the Virginia General Assembly, the state's legislative body. He introduced military instruction and discipline to his students by 1879, and changed the name of the school to Augusta Military Academy in 1890. AMA was the first of several secondary-level, military academies in Virginia, and one of the first schools in the country to adopt a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. The school had a major educational, social, and economic impact on this area of the Shenandoah Valley for over 100 years.

The museum building was built in the 1870s by Roller for his family. The original house has been completely and carefully renovated. Using photographs taken in the 1880s as guides, the restoration/renovation returned the house's exterior as nearly as possible to its original appearance. A small display inside the Alumni House shows the basic construction techniques of the period and stones from part of the original foundation line an outside garden area. One of the first-floor rooms of the museum has been decorated and furnished as a late 1800s Victorian Parlor, and it contains displays highlighting the two families who began the school and led it throughout its 109-year history. Other rooms on the first floor have a recreation of a typical cadet barracks room and a classroom. Another display examines the athletic programs at AMA. Another room in the museum houses chronologically arranged material covering activities at the school from 1900 until the institution closed in 1984. This display features an impressive collection of uniforms and artifacts.

Preserving the Story.


This Augusta County landmark was renovated by hundreds of alums and friends of the Augusta Military Academy through the non-profit AMA Alumni Foundation, Inc.

The museum opened to the public in May 2000.

The museum is open to visitors Wednesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
 The office is open for business on Tuesday, 10 a.m - 4 p.m.

It is closed on Mother's Day and all major holidays.

The museum can be open at other times by appointment.

Group tours are available and encouraged for local and regional school groups. 

A gift shop where AMA-branded memorabilia and gifts can be purchased.

Augusta Military

Academy Museum

Voice: 540-248-3007
Fax: 540-248-4533

Museum Hours

& Location

1640 Lee Highway

Fort Defiance, VA 24437


10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Closed Mother's day and Major Holidays.

© 2024 by Augusta Military Academy Museum. All rights reserved. Web Development by Valley Media

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