Connect with us
[adrotate banner="51"]

Downtown

New American Civil War Museum sheds light on untold stories

The American Civil War Museum, which holds its grand opening Saturday, aims to tell the war’s untold stories through multimedia, artifacts and personal narratives.

Capital News Service

Published

on

By Arianna Coghill

If asked who was involved in the Civil War, most Americans would list the usual suspects: Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Stonewall Jackson.

But what about Elizabeth Van Lew, a Richmond abolitionist who worked as a spy for the Union army? Or Dr. Mary Walker, who received the Medal of Honor for treating prisoners of war on both sides? What roles did indigenous tribes and immigrants play during the war?

The American Civil War Museum, which holds its grand opening Saturday, aims to tell these stories and more through multimedia, artifacts and personal narratives.

As museum staffers have been setting up exhibits, they “are seeing artifacts being displayed in new ways and telling new stories,” said Stephanie Arduini, the museum’s director of education and programs.

Arduini said the 29,000-square-foot museum contains more than 500 artifacts. For example, visitors will be able to see the Confederate flag that Abraham Lincoln gave to his son, Tad, after the war ended — as well as a Native American moccasin that was sent to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Museum officials said every creative choice associated with the project was deliberate, from the location of the artifacts near each other to the location of the museum itself.

The museum, at 500 Tredegar St., was built at a cost of $25 million on the grounds of the Tredegar Iron Works, which was the largest of its kind in the South and provided artillery for the Confederate States Army. The back wall of the main lobby is an authentic ruin of the ironworks’ central foundry.

“It’s a blend of historic architecture and the new, modern building that’s placed like an exhibit case over the ruins,” Arduini explained. “It’s a nice symbolic contrast of how we approached the stories of the war in terms of looking at the past but placing them in the context of the present.”

The museum, which will be open daily, merges collections from the former Museum of the Confederacy and the former American Civil War Center at Tredegar.

Walking into the pre-gallery space, museum visitors are bombarded with history. The space features large, colorized photos of both famous individuals and relatively unknown players in the Civil War.

Photos of Harriet Tubman are featured alongside Phoebe Pember, a Jewish nurse of the Civil War.

“We really wanted people to focus on the faces of the war,” Arduini said.

Solid Light, a company based in Louisville, Kentucky, designed the museum’s exhibits. Its goal was to tell the stories in a high-impact, visual way that would resonate with the audience.

The exhibits include interactive maps to highlight specific battle locations and personal stories of people who experienced them.

Ultimately, the goal of the museum is to move away from the classic narrative of the Civil War and to paint a more complete picture of the events that took place, officials said.

“Traditionally, the story of the Civil War focuses on battles and military strategy. Working closely with CEO Christy Coleman, we designed exhibits to create a more inclusive and authentic experience true to history and the people of the time,” said Cynthia Torp, the owner of Solid Light.

Arduini said museum officials wanted the facility to have a contemporary feel and aesthetic.

“We wanted it to feel vibrant and relevant, like something you’d expect at a museum about something that’s still shaping our lives — because this is still shaping our lives, even though it happened over a 150 years ago,” Arduini said.

Things to know

Location: 500 Tredegar St., along the James River near Belle Isle

Hours: Beginning Saturday, the museum will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Admission: $15 for adults; less for seniors, retired military, teachers, students, and children

For more information: The museum’s website is https://acwm.org, and the phone number is 804-649-1861.

Comments

comments

The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

Avatar

Published

on

Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

Avatar

Published

on

The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Family of local freight and transportation company makes $2 million donation to children’s hospital construction project

The Children’s Hospital Foundation’s matching campaign effectively will double the gift to $4 million.

Avatar

Published

on

A local freight and transportation provider has made a major gift towards the construction of the forthcoming Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU expansion. In addition to the company’s gift of $150,000, Estes family members committed $1.85 million to support the Wonder Tower, the new home for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s inpatient, emergency, and trauma services.

The two donations from Estes Express Lines and the Estes family were matched by the Children’s Hospital Foundation, maximizing the total investment in the Wonder Tower to $4 million. As part of the capital campaign to raise $100 million, the foundation is matching the first $25 million in gifts from the community.

“The support of Estes Express Lines and the Estes family is extremely meaningful. We’re grateful they’ve added their voice and support to our mission to build a world-class pediatric hospital in Richmond,” said Lauren Moore, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Foundation. “They’re truly a values-focused company and family, and their gifts reflect the importance they place on protecting children and their childhoods.”

“We are a family-owned business that’s had the honor of working with thousands of Richmond-area families for nearly 90 years,” said Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes Express Lines. “Children deserve the best possible medical care when they need it, and we’re proud to support Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, as a company, and as a family.”

As part of the donation, some areas of the Wonder Tower will be named in honor of Estes, including the hospital’s loading dock, a nod to their work as a freight carrier business. The gift includes additional recognition of the family’s generosity throughout the building.

Once complete in spring 2023, the Wonder Tower will bring world-class pediatric facilities to Central Virginia. Located in downtown Richmond, the 16-story tower will be home to CHoR’s Level 1 pediatric trauma center, emergency room, inpatient units, new operating rooms, increased imaging capacity, and family amenities — all in an environment created just for kids and their loved ones.

“The children’s tower is being built for and by our community thanks to generous friends like the Estes,” said Elias Neujahr, CEO of CHoR. “It will be a beacon of hope for kids and families across the Commonwealth while helping us attract and retain top talent so our children have access to be the best care, close to home.”

In 2021, Estes Express Lines will celebrate its 90th anniversary as CHoR finishes its centennial year. “Let’s all come together to support the Wonder Tower, a special place where all families and children can receive exceptional pediatric care, right here in Richmond,” said Estes.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather