First Peanut Museum in the US
The First Peanut Museum in the United States, associated with the Miles B. Carpenter Folk Art Museum, is located in Waverly, VA, the historical heart of peanut farming and the area known as the World’s Largest Peanut Market.
Appropriately, the first commercial peanut crop was grown only two miles from the museum’s location and the first commercial peanut distribution company was located across the street from the museum.
It was in 1842, Dr. Matthew Harris, after years of experimenting with various types of the peanut, found one he liked. He loaded up his wagon and drove his horses to Petersburg, 25 miles to the north, and sold his peanuts.
In 1880, the Old Dominion Peanut Company opened in Waverly. It was the first commercial company to buy, grade, shell and market the peanut. One of the first customers of this venture was the famous P. T. Barnum, who brought the peanut to the attention of the general public by selling his well known “Hot Roasted Peanuts” at his circuses.
While the growth of the peanut industry has spread to other areas which cultivate larger quantities, the history remains here.
The Peanut Museum is open at the same hours as the Carpenter Museum and opens on appointments. We welcome groups to come in and listen to our fascinating stories about the peanut.