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Rocktown History provides an “unexpected gem” in charming Dayton, Virginia. With large galleries, changing exhibitions,  and an extensive genealogy library, visitors can enjoy an hour or a day discovering the stories of local history.

Rocktown History

Rocktown History keeps and tells the stories of the area and its people, highlighting their influences on our shared past. HRHS envisions that the rich histories of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are preserved, accessible, vibrant, and meaningful to all.

Established 1898

Click to learn how the Historical Society has grown and continues to evolve with our community.

Inspired by Rocktown

Read Rocktown Stories

Our Team


Penny Imeson, Executive Director.

Penny Imeson was raised in Harrisonburg and enjoyed summers in western Rockingham. She completed undergraduate studies at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and later earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the College of William and Mary.

Penny’s career includes work at an interior design firm in New York City, in the budget department at Newport News Shipbuilding, and as a small business owner in Harrisonburg.

In 2011, Penny became the Executive Director of The Heritage Museum, a role which allows her to apply her business background while challenging her creativity and comfort zone.

Penny and her husband have three young adult sons. As the family grew, it also moved six times up and down the east coast and abroad. Penny did not anticipate returning to her hometown, but is delighted to be back in the Valley and close to her Rockingham Roots.

Margaret Hotchner, Executive Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator. 

Margaret Hotchner, born in Missouri (pronounced Missourah), has lived in Virginia since 1971. During her young life, her father’s job with the American Red Cross required the family to move often: Japan twice, California, and Virginia.

Her interest in family history began at a young age, as she discovered her extended family through photo albums. In 2006, she and her husband relocated to Rockingham County, the home of her paternal ancestors – a true testament to the pull of her lifelong genealogy obsession!

Margaret retired in 2010 from Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She took a little time off to relax, but soon began volunteering at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society in the Genealogy Library. She was hired a year later as the Administrator and enjoys the diverse nature of working in the office. After decades devoted to genealogy, it is no surprise that she also delights in assisting visitors in the Library, as well as providing paid research services upon request.

Board of Trustees

2021 Trustees:

Randy Atkins, Director of Marketing, Valley Care Management

Kevin Borg, Professor of History, James Madison University

Beau Dickenson, Social Studies Supervisor, Rockingham County Public Schools

Allison Dugan, Assistant Director, Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center

Bradford Dyjak, Dayton Town Council Member and Director of Planning, Rockingham County

Maria Paz Esguerra, Co-Principal, Kensington Strickland Group, LLC.

Jim Fries, Partner, Brown Edwards, Certified Public Accountants

Erin Kennedy Hess, Advancement Assistant, Eastern Mennonite School

Randy Jones, Public Information Officer, Virginia Department of Resources

Mark Litchford, Crop and Beef Cattle Farmer, Rockingham County

Chip McIntyre, Executive VP Sales & Marketing, JAYMAXX, L.L.C.

We Are Rich in History

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