Sunday, January 11, 2009

the blue and the grey

Yesterday I went to the Museum of the Confederacy, in Richmond. The museum is located right next to the Confederate White House, and both are tucked into the courtyard of a modern hospital. The hospital positively looms over the house and the museum, making it claustrophobic, to say the least. Out front is the anchor and the propeller shaft from the CSS Virginia (aka the Merrimack).

Inside--and this sounds obvious--the entire space was entirely given over to the Confederacy. It's a museum to a country that only existed for four years. And most of the exhibits focussed on the war, of course. We moved through it pretty quickly, so after awhile they started to become a blur. General Lee's uniform was on loan, but I did get to see his campaign tent, bed, dishes and a cunning little table with a tree stump for a leg.

The Civil War is such a foreign conflict to a Yankee, I haven't learned much other than "we won." But of course, there's a large swath of this country that isn't convinced of that. The exhibits ended with Appomattox, nothing about Reconstruction. Although there was another section which dealt with Virginia's participation in the
Confederacy, and some interesting stories about the Confederacy's lingering into the twentieth century. Overall, the museum was very focused. I can't say that I learned a lot, but then again, it was probably a good place to start...if there's one thing that Virginia has a lot of, it's museums about the Confederacy.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Virginia has more than one museum to the Confederacy? Wouldn't you think that there should be maybe one per state and then all that knowledge could be consolidated? What I know about the Civil War is that more soldiers from Wisconsin died of diseases than died in battle. But then again I could stand to learn more about the War. Georgia is trying to succeed from the union again and it's hard to have any reaction other than : Go ahead. It worked out so well for you the last time.