Civil War HistoryMobile Comes to Highland County Fair
Monterey, VA – The story of the American Civil War cannot be told without the voices of Virginia’s citizens. From the Battle of Manassas, to Richmond, the Capitol of the Confederacy and finally, Appomattox, the site of Lee’s surrender, many of the war’s major events took place on the Virginia landscape. The year 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and to bring the story of the war’s effects on the Commonwealth, the Virginia Civil War 150 HistoryMobile will be in Monterey during the Highland County Fair. Cheryl Jackson, Executive Director of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, talks about how this program began.
“Well the HistoryMobile is an initiative of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, which is a [Virginia] General Assembly created Commission” says Jackson. “It’s chaired by Speaker of the House Bill Howell, and it was created back in 2006. From the very beginning of planning for the commemoration, the Commission knew that it wanted the commemoration to be statewide. There just wasn’t a place in Virginia that was unaffected by the Civil War, and so this Commission made the decision that all the program it would do for the commemoration would similarly be statewide.”
Rather than have people visit a museum in Richmond to experience this exhibit, the Commission made the decision to bring the museum to as many people as possible across Virginia.
“What better way to get an exhibit straight to the people than to put it on wheels” she says. “And that’s what the HistoryMobile is, a museum on wheels that goes straight into the community. It’s a way to bring the statewide reach and way to bring really outstanding museum exhibits to make it directly accessible to the people.”
The HistoryMobile began its program of crisscrossing the state just two months ago.
“It made its debut in Manassas at the 150th anniversary of Manassas [battle] June 21st” she says. “In fact we did the ribbon cutting for the HistoryMobile right after the commemorative program. Our plan is to travel for four years and finish up in Appomattox in 2015.”
The HistoryMobile project was designed in partnership with the Virginia Historical Society and the Fredericksburg – Spotsylvania National Military Park. The touring partners for the project include the Virginia Tourism Commission and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The diesel truck pulling the HistoryMobile across the state was made at the Volvo Truck plant in Dublin, Virginia and was donated by Volvo Trucks, North America.
“The Commissions’ goal is to help people understand how pervasive the Civil War was in Virginia” says Jackson. “The HistoryMobile does a nice job in even that space of a tractor trailer, of showing what it was like to be in a battle, what it was like to survive on the home front; there’s a section about the journey to freedom and the choices that enslaved Virginians made during the Civil War. And then there’s a section on the lost gain and legacy of the Civil War.”
For more information on the events across the state in commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial visit the Commission’s website, www.VirginiaCivilWar.org. The Civil War HistoryMobile will be located in the Highland High School Parking lot Thursday through Saturday this week and will be open from 3 PM to 7 PM on Thursday and Friday and from 11 AM to 7 PM on Saturday, so be sure to stop by and tour the exhibits when you come to the fair.