Confederacy museum could be reality in Appomattox soon
By Nolan Connellynconnelly@newsadvance.com
The Museum of the Confederacy has raised $6 million of a needed $7.5 million in funding for a satellite location in Appomattox. “We’re getting really close,” said Sam Craghead, a public relations specialist for the museum. “The groundbreaking is in the foreseeable future.”
Most of the funding has come from private individuals and grants. Craghead said that after a public fundraising effort begins soon, construction could start this year.
The museum’s expected completion date is “early 2012” after a projected 18 months of construction. The museum initially planned an opening in late 2011, but was delayed by fundraising issues and an expansion of the original museum plans. The new design is 11,000 square feet and located on eight acres of land near the intersection of U.S. 460 and Virginia 24. The proposed site is a mile away from the Appomattox Court House National Park.
The satellite location in Appomattox is part of an effort to expand the number of Confederate artifacts on display. Craghead estimated that visitors to the Richmond museum see less than 10 percent of the entire collection. The Appomattox site, Craghead said, will have artifacts and exhibits related to Appomattox, including General Robert E. Lee’s uniform and sword and the pen he used to sign surrender documents at the McLean house in Appomattox Court House.
Other satellite sites will include locations in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Fort Monroe near Hampton Roads.
The museum is a perfect fit for the location, Craghead said, because the site “is close to the courthouse, (has) easy access to the roads” and could help to keep visitors in the area.
Craghead said the museum is looking forward to participating in the ongoing sesquicentennial observations of the Civil War, which will end on April 9, 2015 — 150 years after Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House. “That’s the important date,” he said. “But we’ll be doing all of other things out there before then.”