Why are the Museum of the Confederacy and The American Civil War Center joining together?
The two organizations have a long history of working in collaboration on programs and exhibits. We realize that by massing our resources, we can develop the premier museum in the nation aimed at teaching Civil War history. The combination of the American Civil War Center’s historic site at the Tredegar Iron Works with the Museum of the Confederacy’s unparalleled collection of artifacts will create dynamic and interactive exhibitions, present engaging educational programs and symposia, and encourage original research for a diverse national and international audience.
How will the history be told at this new museum?
Civil War Historian Raimondo Luraghi said, “To understand America you must understand its Civil War.” 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. Only in combination do they form the American experience.
Will the way history is portrayed at the new museum be different than what has been done at the Museum of the Confederacy in the past?
No. The museum has been evolving since its founding in 1890. The ladies who ran the institution in the 1950s and 1960s took bold steps to enable it to evolve, from a shrine encapsulated in the White House to a modern, educational museum. In the 1990s we pushed the edge of the envelope, with groundbreaking exhibits on women, slavery and the controversies surrounding the flags of the Confederacy – all going far beyond the stories of soldiers. The new museum is the next step in a 123-year evolution.
When the American Civil War Center opened, it was committed to telling the whole story. Doesn’t alignment with the Museum of the Confederacy mean that the Confederate perspective will dominate the history shown at the new museum?
We are committed to helping visitors understand the full scope and breadth of this American experience in ways that create deeper connections to the past and greater understanding of the personal, political and social dynamics of the Civil War era.
What will the new museum be called?
The new museum will be called "The American Civil War Museum." The new name was announced in a press release on January 15, 2014. You can read the full release here.
Who is going to be in charge of this new museum?
The museum will have a new Board of Directors comprised of board members from both entities. Waite Rawls (President of the MOC) and Christy Coleman (President of ACWC) will serve as Co-CEOs of the new museum. Dr. Edward Ayers, historian and President of the University of Richmond, will be Chairman of the Board.
Where will the new museum be located?
The new museum facilities will be constructed at the historic Tredegar Iron Works site. We anticipate a $30 million project, of which $20 million has already been committed.
Are Tredegar Iron Works and the American Civil War Center owned by the National Park Service?
No. The American Civil War Center is a privately owned, not-for-profit entity and it controls the land. The National Park Service’s Richmond Visitor Center leases the Pattern Building, located on the Tredegar site. The proximity of the National Park Service will provide for expanded marketing efforts and increased opportunities for educational cooperation.
What is the timetable for this project?
While we do not have exact dates yet, this will be a multi-year transition. The current Museum of the Confederacy building will remain open for at least two more years. When new construction at the Tredegar site begins, the entrance pavilion, museum store, and Foundry building of the American Civil War Center will close. New outdoor exhibits, living history programs and demonstrations, and the Park Service visitor center will keep the site exciting and engaging. The National Park Visitor Center at Tredegar, the White House of the Confederacy, and the Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox will remain open throughout and after the transition process.
Will I still be able to rent the Historic Tredegar site for my special event?
Yes, but some areas will not be available at all times. Please contact our special events coordinator for details.
What will happen to the White House of the Confederacy?
The White House of the Confederacy will retain its name and remain open at 1201 E. Clay St. There will be opportunities to add exhibit space and expand the interpretation of the house after the new museum opens.
What will happen to the museum in Appomattox?
The Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox will retain its name and remain open, operating as it has since March, 2012.
How will the current Museum of the Confederacy building be used in the future?
We are still in the early planning stages of this venture. It has not been determined how we will use the current MOC museum building in the long term.
I’ve never been to Tredegar. What advantages does that site have over the current Museum of the Confederacy site?
The Tredegar Iron Works was the most important industrial site in the entire Confederacy, and its site is filled with that history. It sits on a beautiful, 8.9 acre location on the James River in downtown Richmond and is surrounded by city parkland. There is ample parking on site, and the recently developed 2nd St. connector road makes accessibility much easier. Compared to the confusing Court End streets and the MCV Visitors’ Parking Deck at the MOC’s current location, the Tredegar site is definitely preferable. The expansive grounds at Tredegar are also perfect for private events, living history demonstrations, special programs and other educational interpretative activities.
What will happen to my ancestor’s artifacts?
The new facility will allow us to take better care of our artifacts, both on and off display. We will be able to present more items on display in new, engaging ways, and enhance our digital cataloguing efforts to bring greater public access to items that are not on display. In short, your ancestor’s artifacts will be better cared for, and more accessible than ever.
I heard you are splitting up the collection. Is that true?
No. The collection will remain under the ownership of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society. All the artifacts will be moved into brand new, state-of-the-art facilities at Tredegar – ensuring their preservation for generations to come. Furthermore, we are at an advanced stage of negotiations with the Virginia Historical Society to accelerate the digitization of our archives, to increase access by the public and to improve the conservation of the materials.
What does this mean for my membership with the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy?
Your membership will be even more valuable to you. Through membership, you contribute to preserving the collection and educating the public about the Civil War. There will be much more to see and do at the new museum for daily visitors, and through our expanded programming schedule. Furthermore, as a result of operating synergies, more of your donated dollars will go directly to preservation and education, rather than overhead. We saw a similar result in the successful merger that created the Civil War Preservation Trust in 1999.
Will a Confederate flag fly at the new museum?
Yes. Our current plan includes the display of a Confederate First National flag and the 35-star flag of the United States in a prominent place.