"The Museum of the Confederacy’s mission is to serve as the preeminent world center for the display, study, interpretation, commemoration, and preservation of the history and artifacts of the Confederate States of America."
My first encounters with the Museum of the Confederacy were as a student at MCV seeking refuge from professors, patients, and the weather. There were a couple places where one of the docents would allow me to study. Before that little diversion got too expensive for my student budget, I also availed myself of the opportunity to review most of the exhibits and a few non-public areas. Thirty years ago, I was probably an expert on the MoC but I must confess that it was a mixture of new and familiar.
The Museum of the Confederacy houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of civilian and military Civil War artifacts relating to the Confederate States of America, as well as the post-war “Lost Cause” era, and is a valuable resource for the study of Confederate history. Among the Museum's more interesting and often one of a kind artifacts are the personal belongings of many legendary generals like Robert E. Lee, "Stonewall" Jackson, and J.E.B. Stuart. Uniforms, weapons, and wartime Confederate flags are also included in the Museum's three floors of unique exhibits.
All of the preceding is contained in the modern Museum building but if you can only see one part of the Museum, do not miss the recently fully restored White House of the Confederacy which looks much as it did when Jefferson Davis and many of his cabinet officers raced away heading for Charlotte, North Carolina, and eventually Montgomery, Alabama, as the Confederacy began to crumble around them.
I would recommend visiting the MoC very highly to anyone interested in American history, especially mid-19th Century American history. Special exhibits and programs are being planned in conjunction with the sesquicentennial observances of the Civil War, which are now underway.
Later on during my trip I visited a few other museums of the Confederacy or dedicated to the Civil War and I must admit that this one in Richmond was the most complete and interesting.
It displayed much more than flags and a medical exposition. I found there huge photographic collection, decorative arts objects including furniture, edged weapons and firearms, war uniforms, paintings, sculptures, various historical documents and much more.
This museum is right next to the Confederate White House and the tour of the house is included in the admission. The museum tells the story of the war from the confederate side and the history of the confederate government and army.
Not many people know or accept this, but Richmond was at one time a national capital. The Confederate States of America was a sovereign country from 1861-1865. The capital was Richmond, Virginia for a majority of that time. The Confederacy printed its own money, had its own president (Jefferson Davis of Mississippi), and its own government. The museum covers three floors in a modern (1970s) building showing Confederate uniforms, the national and battle flags, and even how Confederate hospitals tried to save as many lives as possible during the War Between the States. That was impressive enough, but the Museum of the Confederacy did a great job preserving the residence of President Jefferson Davis. The Museum tour costs $4 by itself and just the White House of the Confederacy is $7, but buy the $10 ticket for both. Nat "b1bob", David Karner "Karnubawax", and I did that in September, 2005. Nat has taken so many people the guide remembered him!
Few people, particularly outside the United States, realise this, but from 1861-1865, Richmond was the national capitol of the Confederate States of America. The Museum of the Confederacy is in a modern (ca. 1976) building cattywampus from the White House of the Confederacy. To my good friends from up North and abroad: it gives a fair and balanced no-spin look into what really happened during this difficult period of time. Two of the most interesting exhibits in this building deal with how the war affected the women of the Southern States and the medical aspect of the battlefield. It turned out that on the 260.000 killed, 166.000 of them died of disease or what would be termed today poor medical care. Hours: 10am-5pm (Monday-Saturday); 12 noon-5pm (Sunday).
The first place I visited in Richmond was the Museum of the Confederacy. It is a very interesting museum and my first real meeting with fascinating period in American history.
I was surprised to see very rich collection of civilian and military Civil War artifacts. I saw numerous manuscripts, photographs, swords, songs of the war, the uniforms of the generals and the mourning clothes of the widows.
I got to know much more about the Confederate States of America and I started to be much more interested, even fascinated, with the sometimes controversial role of the Confederacy in the War, post-war era and in American society today.
The museum highlights:
1. Robert E. Lee's uniform from Appomattox,
2. J.E.B. Stuart's Le Mat pistol,
3. Lee's First National pattern headquarters flag (believed sewn by his wife and daughters).
The museum consisted of the two buildings:
1. modern museum building (entrance on my picture),
2. the White House of the Confederacy.
I cannot recommend The Museum of the Confederacy highly enough. The War Between the States. The War of Northern Agression. The War of Southern Stubborness. The War for Southern Independence. The Civil War. Whatever, you wish to call it, it was a national tragedy of staggering terms. I was prepared to be bombarded by southern revisionist and apologist propoganda. But the museum is very fair-handed in dealing with all issues arising from the war. It is still an intensely emotional issue for many people. The museum, however, is able to stear clear of the emotions and present unbiased facts alongside its impressive collection of war artifacts.
The museum houses the world's largest collection of Confederate artifacts and is a great place to learn about the southern struggle during the Civil War.
(photo courtesy of b1bob)