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The American Civil War Museum Poised to Become a Premier Civil War Museum
Combining the best aspects of The American Civil War Center and The Museum of the Confederacy
January 15, 2014
RICHMOND, VA – The new American Civil War Museum will be headquartered on the historic site of the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, where a new museum building will combine the best aspects of The Museum of the Confederacy and The American Civil War Center. Read more.
Leading Virginia Institutions Join Forces to Create Nation’s Premier Civil War Museum Experience
The American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy join forces in $30 million project to create leading Civil War cultural site in Richmond.
November 17, 2013
RICHMOND, VA– The American Civil War Center (ACWC) and the Museum of the Confederacy (MOC) announced today that they have joined forces to create a new Civil War museum in Richmond, Va., combining the ACWC’s historic site at the Tredegar Iron Works with the MOC’s unparalleled collection of artifacts. The new entity will allow both institutions to showcase their extensive collections, expand their research and educational programs, and further establish Richmond as the foremost Civil War destination in the United States.
The goal of the new museum is to combine the strengths and legacies of each institution to help people learn Civil War history in all its breadth and scope. It will tell a multitude of military, political and civilian stories of the people of the time – Union, Confederate, free and enslaved African Americans, and others. It will strengthen, preserve and interpret the combined collections of both museums to create dynamic and interactive exhibitions, present engaging educational programs and symposia, and encourage original research for a diverse national and international audience. Like the ACWC and the MOC, the new museum will remain a privately owned, not-for-profit entity.
The new museum’s board of directors will be comprised of existing board members from the ACWC and the MOC, and chaired by historian and President of the University of Richmond, Dr. Edward Ayers. The current leaders of both institutions, MOC President Waite Rawls and ACWC President Christy Coleman, will serve as co-CEOs of the to-be-named entity.
The new organization is embarking on a $30 million project, of which $20 million has already been committed, for the new facilities to provide a world-class experience for visitors. In addition, advanced discussions are under way with the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) to preserve, digitize and make widely available the letters, diaries, books and photographs of the MOC through the renowned archival capabilities of the VHS.
“We are committed to telling the history of the American Civil War in its breadth and nuance, where all its elements will be explored. The War was a turning point in our nation’s history and a time that holds importance for many people. We intend to tell the stories of the participants – both well and little-known – and examine them objectively,” said Coleman. “The site at Tredegar, a historically significant location, allows us the space we need to showcase our expansive collections and artifacts from the Civil War.”
“The ACWC and MOC have a long history of collaboration and forming the new museum is a natural evolution of that relationship. We are currently conducting interviews with our audiences to help guide the development and new name of this ground-breaking initiative,” explained Rawls. “After we complete this process and review the results of our research, we will announce the organization’s new name after the first of the year.”
“Joining these two entities allows us to focus our resources and attention on developing more exhibits that protect the integrity of our historic artifacts and increasing understanding through living history demonstrations, scholarly research and educational programs to bring Civil War history to life,” said Ayers. “Amassing the resources of the MOC and the ACWC will help us ensure that our nation’s rich history will be passed on to future generations.”
The new museum will also benefit from the continuing relationship with the National Park Service’s Richmond Visitor Center, which leases property at the Tredegar site. A shared location allows for expanded marketing efforts and increased opportunities for educational cooperation.
“It will be exciting to see this ambitious project unfold at this historic location – on the banks of the James River in Downtown Richmond, surrounded by preserved historic land of the Richmond’s Battlefield Park,” said Dave Ruth, superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park. “Using the backdrop of the Tredegar Iron Works, this museum will redefine how visitors experience the dramatic story of the Civil War and will communicate the powerful and untold stories that provide transcendent meaning for this event, which shaped our country’s history.”
The White House of the Confederacy, one of the first sites in the country to be named a National Historic Landmark, will also be enhanced with new exhibits. Both the White House and the Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox will continue to operate as normal, open to the public 362 days a year. The National Park Service Visitor Center will also be enhanced with new exhibits and remain open daily during the transition.
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About the Museum of the Confederacy
Founded in 1890, the MOC houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Confederate artifacts, including the personal belongings of many legendary Confederate generals, the common soldiers, women, children and African-Americans.
About the American Civil War Center
Created as a privately owned not-for-profit in 2000, the ACWC includes interactive exhibits on the site of Tredegar Iron Works – a National Historic Landmark that was one of the most important industrial sites during the Civil War. Its collection includes artifacts and five surviving industrial buildings. The National Park Service operates the Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center located in the restored Pattern Building.
Museum of the Confederacy
Ph: (804) 649-1861 ext. 113
Penelope Carrington Wallace
American Civil War Center
Ph: 804-780-1865 ext. 21
To find answers to some of the questions you may have about the new museum, please visit our Q&A page.
Visit the American Civil War Center's website.
Read the Richmond Times Dispatch article about the announcement.
Read the AP article about the announcement.