The only surviving judicial robe of Chief Justice John Marshall returns to RVA

John Marshall robe returns home

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond is known for its rich history, and now a piece of that history is back in the commonwealth.

The only surviving judicial robe of Chief Justice John Marshall is back on display.

Since the early 2000s, the John Marshall robe has been taken down because it was too fragile, but since its recent conservation, the robe has returned in a 7-foot wide, 6-foot tall glass display.

“This is one of the only known examples of the Supreme robe from that time period,” said Director of Museum Operations and Education at Preservation Richmond, Jennifer Hurst-Wender.

Marshall is the longest-serving chief justice in U.S. Supreme Court history. He served for 34 years between 1801 and 1835.

This robe is the focal point of the John Marshall House new exhibit called, “The conservation and legacy of Marshall Supreme Court Robe.”

“In our exhibit, we talk about the conservation process and the history of the robe but also its legacy of a witness object,” said Hurst-Wender.

John Marshall is widely considered the most important and influential Supreme Court justice in U.S. history, and his black robe is the symbol of the change he made.

“John Marshall wore this robe when he was deliberating some of the most important cases that shaped our entire government,” said Hurst-Wender.

John Marshall Robe getting repaired by River Region Costume and Textile Conservation
John Marshall Robe getting repaired by River Region Costume and Textile Conservation (Source: PMB Photography)

The robe recently went through some conservation work - a surviving witness to influential moments in early American history.

“The swearing-in of five presidents, the peaceful transfer of power, and the creation of federal Indian law,” said Hurst-Wender.

Now it’s home sitting inside the John Marshall House along East Marshall street downtown, where Marshall lived for much of his life.

“This house is truly a gem in the middle of the city,” said Hurst-Wender.

In order to see the robe for yourself, you’ll have to book a tour online.

If you would like to book a tour, click here.

John Marshall robe display at the John Marshall House
John Marshall robe display at the John Marshall House (Source: NBC12)

Hear about Marshall’s life and legacy on NBC12′s How We Got Here podcast.

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