Published on December 30, 2021

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Help Us Create the New Museum

After years of planning, we’re ready to launch a $650,000 renovation and complete reboot of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum, and we’re asking you to be a part of it. 

In this day and age, we must do everything we can to preserve our history and inspire people through the greatness of the American story.  We are working day in and day out to save as many battlefield acres as we possibly can, and now we want to combine the power of tangible artifacts with the power of place to create a museum exhibit that will connect visitors to our past and entice them to explore the Valley and its Civil War history.

Take a look at this brochure, which outlines this exciting and ambitious project.  You’ll see concept drawings and renderings of the exhibit, a floorplan, and some of the artifacts that will be on display.  And this handout will show you the naming opportunities that are part of the project.

The exhibit is designed to use technology to connect visitors from the museum to the battlefields themselves.  QR codes and smart phone technology throughout the exhibit will enhance learning and enjoyment and encourage guests to visit and explore the landscapes and historic sites where the events of the war took place.  A special children’s track throughout the exhibit will allow young visitors to learn in a fun interactive way, inspiring the historians and preservation heroes of the future.  The first floor of the exhibit will highlight the site’s unique history and the history of the building itself.  The 2nd floor main exhibit hall will combine a traditional museum experience with interactive technology to lead the visitor through four years of war and allow them to come face to face with the conflict that changed the world forever.   It will be a multi-sensory experience that will use ambient sound effects and lighting design to create changing moods and focus as you travel through the exhibit.  There will be a full-size replica of a soldier’s winter hut that visitors can walk through, and artifacts related to the civilian impacts of the war will be exhibited within a full-scale house façade.

But for hardcore history folks, nothing will compare to the amazing artifacts that will be on display.  We have incredible items in our own collection and are thrilled to have been able to make long term arrangements for the loan and gift of pieces from the collections of nationally known collectors Harry Ridgeway, Nick Picerno, and Ben Marchi.   These priceless artifacts, many never before exhibited publicly, will be the centerpiece of the entire renovation.  They are touchstones to our past that enhance the ability of visitors to visualize, contextualize, and understand the battlefields of the Valley when they visit them.  That’s because the entire exhibit will repeatedly connect the story to such places, and encourage, entice, and guide the visitor outside the museum walls and out onto the battlefield landscapes that you have helped preserve.

This museum will capture the attention of thousands who otherwise may not have ventured out to the battlefields – the battlefields that you and I have protected.  This museum will give us the opportunity to engage those people with the meaning and relevance of the Civil War, and to encourage them to dig deeper, read further, and care more.

In a time when Civil War history is being pushed from the classroom, driven off main street, and torn down from the public square, this is our chance to push back – to charge toward the front, to make sure the voices of our past are heard loud and clear.  This is going to be an amazing project, and just one more example of how you and I can lead the way back to our future.

We’ve already received the first $100,000, leaving us with $550,000 to raise – not much considering the impact that this investment will make.  I’m asking you to become a part of this project by doing as much as you can to help us raise those funds.  Send $10, $50, or $100, or send $100,000 – just do all that you can do, because this is critically important.  To give to the project, click here or the link below.  (And if you’re interested in naming opportunities, call Brittney Hebermehl in our office at 540-740-4545.)

When this project is completed, it will promote not only our history, but also battlefield preservation, and the positive impacts that preservation can have on a community.  This is a big deal, one that will have enormous impact on our work – and we need your help to make it a reality.

Keven Walker

CEO, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation

 

To see the full brochure, click here.

For naming opportunities, click here.  If you’re interested in pursuing a NAMING OPPORTUNITY, call Brittney Hebermehl at 540-740-4545.  (Please note: you must call our office directly to secure a naming opportunity.)