The Legacy of the Civil War: Changing Memories over Time takes place on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and most sessions on campus will be in the historic Depot Building – once a stop on the Richmond trolley system. During the Legacy of the Civil War: Changing Memories over Time workshop, we will visit a number of sites in and around Richmond, Virginia including the following:
American Civil War Museum, White House and Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA
American Civil War Museum (ACWM) – the Clay Street complex of the Museum and White House of the Confederacy (MoC-R). The MoC-R has a vast collection of military artifacts and objects from the Lost Cause era including paintings, a textbook from the early 20th century given to school children entitled “A Confederate Catechism,” and various print materials used to spread the ideals of the Lost Cause. The MoC-R traces its history back to 1866 and the Ladies Hollywood Memorial Association, a group dedicated to decorating soldiers’ graves. This led to founding the Confederate Museum that overtly promoted the Lost Cause through exhibits and programs. Over time, the goals of the MoC-R changed and it now overtly recognizes its past as a shrine to the Confederacy, but bases current exhibits and programs on contemporary historical scholarship that questions the motives of the north and the south. Adjacent to the Museum is the fully restored house where the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, lived with his wife, Varina Davis, and their children during the Civil War. It is full of material culture, military, and popular culture artifacts.
American Civil War Museum, Historic Tredegar, Richmond, VA*
The American Civil War Museum tells the story of the Civil War from three different perspectives, Union, Confederate, and African-American. It also hosts a 2003 monument depicting Abraham and Tad Lincoln during their April 4-5, 1865 visit to Richmond. Though the sculpture was intended to unify, its unveiling was marked with controversy and demonstrations.
*This site is currently under construction and what we see there will depend upon what is open in the summer of 2016.
American Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy – Appomattox, Appomattox, VA
At this site, opened in 2012, the exhibitions tell the story of the Civil War from its beginning to Lee’s surrender and continue to the years after the Civil War. Utilizing a combination of audio-visual technologies as well as an extensive collection of photo, documents, and objects particularly associated with Lee’s surrender, this museum addresses the military aspects of the war.
Appomattox Court House, Appomattox, VA
This site, administered by the Federal Park Service, – Appomattox Court House presents buildings, material culture objects, and artistic objects specifically related to Lee’s surrender. Further, we will learn about the last days of the war and about the military process of surrender.
Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA
Along a prominent thoroughfare, Monument Avenue, there are five large historical sculptures to Civil War era leaders; Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, and Matthew Maury. Additionally, there is a contemporary monument to African-American tennis star and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. All of the monuments are larger than life, up to 60 feet tall; are made of lasting materials including bronze, granite, and marble; and communicate to contemporary citizens. While the Arthur Ashe sculpture functions as a counter memory, the others work together to reinforce the Lost Cause collective memory. Erected between 1890 and 1929, the five Confederate monuments project the ideas of the Lost Cause in the present day. Built in 1996, the monument to Richmond native Arthur Ashe was the subject of a fierce debate.
Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA
The Virginia Historical Society’s collection includes many artifacts related to Virginia’s role in the Civil War as well as the reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and contemporary eras including documents, photographs, and school textbooks. The building also houses the Hoffbauer Military Murals (http://www.vahistorical.org/hoffbauer/), painted from 1913-1920 depicting a lost cause view of the Civil War.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
The VMFA’s collection includes paintings from the Civil War and Reconstruction eras that visually depict the Civil War and its aftermath. Additionally, their collection includes paintings of the monuments on Monument Avenue.
Various works of public art in Richmond including the Reconciliation statue, Henry ‘Box’ Brown, the statue of Abraham and Tad Lincoln, etc.
Throughout this workshop, we will be walking at each site, frequently getting on and off the bus, walking on uneven pavement, and may be out in a range of weather. Please note that every site is not ADA accessible and that Richmond is usually hot and humid in June and July with temperatures easily into the 90s with 80-90% humidity. Rain is a frequent in the summer and we will be out and about daily, regardless of the weather. Please bring appropriate shoes for walking 2+ miles per day, sunscreen, water bottles, or other items to help you be comfortable.