Plan to Expand Civil War Museum Could Bring Artifacts to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP

A sketch of Confederate soldiers behind a stone wall in Fredericksburg. NPS sketch.

There's an effort being launched to create a network of Civil War museums across the state of Virginia, and one might be located in Fredericksburg, home to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

The idea is being pushed by the Museum of the Confederacy, which holds the world's largest collection of Civil War memorabilia and artifacts. The proposal arose because the museum doesn't have enough space in its Richmond, Virginia, location to properly display artifacts.

Fredericksburg makes a logical location for one museum because of its significance during the Civil War. Four major battles were staged in the city and the surrounding Spotsylvania County countryside: Chancellorsville, Court House, Wilderness, and Fredericksburg.

"I think the idea of bringing artifacts to the battlefields is a wonderful concept," says Civil War Preservation Trust President Jim Lighthizer. "Spotsylvania is ground zero for the American Civil War. More happened in that county than anywhere in the country."

Officials with the Museum of the Confederacy hope the museum network can be in place by 2011, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

“It is an exciting prospect to expand our outreach to a greater number of historical tourists in Virginia,” says Museum Board Chairman Carlton P. Moffatt. “The plan is contingent on financing. After three years of hard work involving a state study commission, a peer review study and a large number of volunteer experts, the Board feels that a system of museum sites is the best way to accomplish our central mission of using artifacts to educate the public about the Civil War and the Confederacy.”

You can read more about the proposal here and here.