Almost broke and very controversial, Virginia's Museum of the Confederacy announced a new battle plan last month for staying relevant—and in business. Formed in the 1890s, in the last decade the Richmond-based museum has teetered toward financial collapse, endangering its research archive, artifact collection, and its home, the 1818 mansion known as the White House of the Confederacy. With an emergency room as a next-door neighbor, the museum, claiming that the downtown medical complex had made its location untenable for visitors, has begun floating a plan to build a satellite system of museums at the battlegrounds of Appomattox, Chancellorsville, Fort Monroe, and a fourth naval site near Hampton, Va.
"Moving some of the museum's collection—for example, [Robert E.] Lee's boots, tent, and sword—to Appomattox, there they would be appropriate and well displayed," says Nicholas Muller, former National Trust trustee. "This may be a clever plan." Muller led a review that told the beleaguered organization it had little time and room to maneuver if it wanted to survive.
What the museum's new plan fails to address is whether its continued existence will generate controversy. ... Read More →