History Mobile comes to Bath

From Wednesday evening through Saturday of this week, residents from all around the region have a chance to visit the CivilWar150, or History Mobile. This 18 wheeler is converted at each location it visits into a museum of the Civil War with exhibits of items, documents and photographs to strengthen and enrich understanding of that chapter in American History. The Bath County branch of the Rockbridge Regional Library, and the Bath County Historical Society along with the Bath County Government collaborated to bring this museum here so school children, seniors, amateur historians, and absolutely anyone who wants to, can learn more during this sesquicentennial year.
This region was fairly active during the Civil War, enough so that reenactors return regularly to McDowell to interpret that battle. At the Bath County Historical Society, Karen Buzzard, research assistant, talked about what you can see there. Some of the items make the Civil War, as it played out in the Allegheny Highlands, seem even more familiar.
“We have a quilt that was carried by the McClintic brothers during the Civil War. They were from Williamsville, and one was killed, and the other brothers brought the quilt back. We also have period furniture, dishes, clothes and we have a beautiful wedding dress from around that era.”
Inside the History Mobile similar types of personal records, often family heirlooms, are gathered from across the whole state. The 53-foot trailer will be set up in the parking area of the County Parks and Recreation area beside Valley Elementary School. While school groups are scheduled to attend during the days on Thursday and Friday, evenings beginning on Wednesday are open from 5-7 for the general public. And the mobile museum is also open Saturday morning from 10-2. Volunteers will be on hand to show people which way to go.
Karen Buzzard: “We’re thrilled that the History Mobile is coming to Bath County, and we’re also hoping that a lot of the people who go to the History Mobile will also want to come here to the Historical Society. Highland High School is coming, and I think from the 4th and 5th grade are coming to the History Mobile, and they will also come here to the Historical Society before they go to the History Mobile which is a great idea. And we have invited Allegheny and Covington Schools.”
Areas of the exhibits focus on the day-to-day life of regular people during the war and are grouped into Battlefront, Homefront, Journey to Freedom, and Loss-Gain-Legacy. There are also several resources on the History Mobile website for teachers to use in preparation for a visit, or for reflecting on the experience with students afterwards. Bath County Parks and Recreation is located at 65 Panther Lane. Diane shared her understanding of the site to help plan for a visit.
“I’m sure there’ll be a little wait time, but there is a picnic area there; there are places where little ones can go for a few minutes to relax.”
Remember if you’re not coming with one of the groups, Wednesday through Friday is open 5-7, and Saturday 10 until 2. Admission is free, as it is at the Historical Society too. Why not take advantage of this excellent opportunity to see two fine displays of history, one shown all across the state, and the other uniquely Bath, right here in our own backyard? With any questions at all please call the Bath County Library at 839-7286.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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