Confederate Museum to host groundbreaking Sept. 23

Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A groundbreaking for the Museum of the Confederacy will be held on Thursday, September 23, in Appomattox.

The groundbreaking will take place at the intersection of State Route 24 (Old Courthouse Road) and U.S. 460 at 3 p.m.

The groundbreaking will ensure that the Appomattox satellite branch of the museum will be the first to be constructed among three sites that are being planned.

The museum will be constructed on six acres of property, where Horseshoe Road and Burge Road cross.

The anticipated date for the opening of the museum is Spring 2012.

"The Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox will bring a new dimension in the story of Appomattox, as the focal point of the ending of the American Civil War and the starting point of national reunification," museum president Waite Rawls said in a press release.

Both Appomattox government and museum officials anticipate that the museum will attract visitors from all over the world.

"These stories make Appomattox one of those names that rings across the years of history; not only in our own country but around the globe," said Mayor Paul Harvey. "When people study the history of this great nation, the importance of Appomattox draws them to see the place for themselves."

Delegate Watkins Abbitt (I-59th), who is a member of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, had similar views on the arrive of a satellite branch of the museum.

"We believe the future of Appomattox’s growth is in tourism," Abbitt said. "The Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox will certainly be a great addition to the region. The economy of the town and the region will benefit as more visitors will come and stay longer. The new museum will be an important component in creating an environment conducive to business expansion, new business establishment, job growth, and enhanced tax revenue."

In the Spring, Rawls announced that the museum had raised $6 million and needed an additional $1.5 million before a groundbreaking could take place.

The museum has received donations plus funds from the Tobacco Commission that will go towards construction for the project.

Of the funds the museum received, $2 million involved a matching grant.

When discussion first began about the size of the museum building, each location was targeted for an 8,000-square-foot building.

However, the size of the museum building will increase from 8,000 square feet to about 11,000 to compensate for more exhibits to be on display.

The gallery space, meanwhile, will enjoy 5,000 square feet of space.

Museum officials hope to have the museum ready just in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

In September 2007, the museum officials announced that Appomattox was selected to become one of the three satellite branches – along with Chancellorsville and Fort Monroe – that will make up of a system of museums for the Museum of the Confederacy.

In early 2007, the Richmond museum sent out request for proposals after being advised that relocating was a solution to their financial and logistical problems due to the expansion of Virginia Commonwealth University.

As Richmond’s oldest museum, the Museum of the Confederacy houses a collection of civilian and military Civil War artifacts and a post-war era collection.

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