Museum of the Confederacy

Nolan Connelly, “Appomattox Museum Project to break ground this month,” The News and Advance, September 10, 2010:

The Museum of the Confederacy has unveiled drawings of its planned museum in Appomattox and announced plans for a Sept. 23 groundbreaking at the site after raising $6 million toward the $7.5 millionproject.

Construction is expected to end by spring 2012 on the 11,700-square-foot museum near the intersection of Virginia 24 and U.S. 460, housing Civil War artifacts where they were made famous.

“There’s nowhere better to do it than Appomattox,” said S. Waite Rawls IIICEO and president of the Museum of the Confederacy. “The very word ‘Appomattox’ carries so much meaning in history.”

The museum will officially announce the groundbreaking in a new release today.

Rawls said the museum’s exhibits would encompass three major areas: the events before the Civil War ended, the surrender at the McLean House and the reunification of the country.

Williamsburg-based architect Carlton Abbott has designed the building. Rawls said it will evoke reverence so that visitors “are fully aware they’re on an important spot.”

“He excels at putting a building into a landscape,” Rawls said of Abbott, “where the two of them fit with each other.”

Members of local governing bodies hope the new museum serves as an economic boost both to the Town ofAppomattox and Appomattox County.

“What I’m hoping will happen is more hotels and restaurants,” said Gary Tannerchairman of the Appomattox County Board of Supervisors. “It’s not a big city, it’s relaxed — but it’s definitely where the Civil War ended and people should visit here.”

Appomattox Mayor Paul Harvey said the museum would complement the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, located about a mile from the museum site.

“It’s a great connection with the (national) park and we see it as an increase in tourism and the number of people that visit Appomattox each year.”

Members of the museum’s board of trustees personally donated about $2.5 million to the project. “We have put our money where out mouth is,” Rawls said.

Another $2.8 million came from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

The Appomattox museum is part of planned multi-site museum system, with three more museums proposed for Fredericksburg, Fort Monroe and Spotsylvania.

Though the museum in Appomattox won’t be completed until 2012, Rawls said, museum officials plan to schedule Civil War lectures at libraries and schools in the area as a way to reach out to the community.

“The door may not be open, but we’re here,” he said. “This is all systems go.”

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