Jefferson County is located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. It is in the lower Shenandoah Valley with the Shenandoah River to the east and the Potomac River to the northeast. The Blue Ridge Mountains run parallel to the Shenandoah.
The county was originally part of Virginia. George Washington, as a young man, surveyed the area and purchased a farm here. His brother, Charles, founded Charles Town, home of the museum, in 1786. There are six remaining Washington family homes in the county. More Washingtons are buried in Zion Episcopal Churchyard than anywhere in the US. The county named for Thomas Jefferson, a frequent visitor, was created in 1801.