New museum name embraces the total Civil War experience

A proposed museum about the Civil War may be in the capital of the Confederacy, but the just-announced name for it indicates that the time has come to unite the Union and the Confederacy, at least in the way the war is presented at a major museum. The American Civil War Museum is the name for the future institution that will bring together the American Civil War Center, whose mission has been to tell the Northern, Southern and the African-American side of the war, and the Museum of the Confederacy, which houses the country’s largest collection of Confederate artifacts.

A tagline was also created for the American Civil War Museum: “Confederacy, Union and Freedom.” According to a news release, the leaders of the two existing museums were assisted in the name and tag selection through a market research survey of members of heritage groups, museum supporters and the general public.

In a surprise move late last year, the two Richmond museums announced a joint venture to build a 30,000-square-foot museum on the campus of the American Civil War Center, about a mile from the Confederate museum. The center, which opened in 2006 and has a limited collection of artifacts to display, is rich in open land, and Museum of the Confederacy, which opened more than a century ago and has more than 15,000 Confederate objects, had no space to expand.

The next steps include site and exhibit planning, design, construction and development of new marketing strategies. Construction of the $30 million museum is expected to begin this year and the opening scheduled for 2015.

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