Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005
HJR 747 - Joint Subcommittee to Examine the Cost and Feasibility of Relocating the Museum and White House of the Confederacy
September 26, 2005The Joint Subcommittee to Examine the Cost and Feasibility of Relocating the Museum and White House of the Confederacy held its third meeting on September 26, 2005, at the General Assembly Building in Richmond. The subcommittee heard several presentations addressing the cost and feasibility of moving the White House structure and relocating the museum.
Mr. Gehring first noted that the VCU Health System provides financial support to the museum. Until the year 2100, the Health System has agreed to provide steam and parking to the museum. Currently, these services are valued at approximately $79,000 per year. The VCU Health System has also agreed to pay the museum up to $100,000 per year during the construction phase of the VCU Critical Care Hospital project (January 3, 2005 to December 13, 2007). The first payment of $25,000 was made to the museum in June 2005.
Mr. Gehring also noted several derivative benefits to the museum from the VCU Health System in general and from construction of the new VCU Critical Care Hospital in particular. Mr. Gehring suggested that VCU's presence in the area increases security along the Clay Street corridor and provides visitorship to the museum from patients' families and friends. Moreover, a $900,000 post-construction budget will likely allow for improvements to Clay Street and adjoining sidewalks, increased lighting and landscaping, and enhanced visitor access to the museum complex.
Expert House Movers,
Inc. and DJG, Inc.
Assuming that the White House were moved from its current location to an area behind the Science Museum of Virginia, the movers projected that it would take approximately two weeks to transport the house to its new location. Approximately 60 light poles and traffic poles, three sets of power lines, and several trees obstructing the route would need to be moved. Once the White House arrives at its new location, a new foundation would be constructed at the site; a new basement floor slab would be installed; the front entry, east balcony, and rear portico would be reconstructed; and landscaping and finishing touches to the internal structure would be completed. The total cost estimate of the move is $4,765,000.
Museum of the
Mr. Rawles explained
that the museum faces three options: keep both the museum and the White
House at their current site, build a new museum at another location but
leave the White House on site, or build a new museum at another location
and relocate the White House at that location.
Should the museum decide to exercise option 2, building a new museum at another location but leaving the White House on site, visitation at the White House is expected to decline significantly and synergies between the museum and the White House will be reduced. However, more space would be available for the museum to expand and the creation of an on-site Center for Civil War Studies would be possible. This option would incur the highest level of future operating expenses in the long run and is forecasted to produce an annual deficit of over $800,000.
If both the White House and museum were moved to another site, Mr. Rawles predicts that they could obtain financial self-sufficiency. If this option is chosen, the White House would leave its original location and would lose its National Historic Landmark designation. However, visitation is expected to increase to as much as 90,000 people per year and access to the museum would be greatly facilitated. In addition, a new museum building would allow for enhanced program delivery and exhibit space. Although significant costs would be associated with building a new museum building, additional revenues are projected due to the expansion of educational and outreach programs.
Office of the
Mayor of Richmond
The City of Richmond has a signage program for cultural attractions in which the Museum of the Confederacy participates. Dr. Witschey noted that additions and revisions to the city's signage are continual and improvements in signage will be forthcoming.
Dr. Witschey explained that the city's position on a possible relocation of the Museum and White House of the Confederacy is consistent with the Richmond Downtown Master Plan as adopted by the Richmond City Planning Commission and approved by the Richmond City Council in 2004.
The goal of the Master Plan for historic resources is to facilitate the preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of the valuable downtown architectural and urban heritage. In addition, the plan seeks to implement a comprehensive on- and off-street parking management plan and to fully implement a unified way-finding system, including gateway, parking, and attraction signage. The 1997 Master Plan recommended that Clay Street be converted to two-way traffic and the city continues to support the reopening of Clay Street as well as the creation of a Court End Historic District. The city's policy relating to historic districts promotes the stabilization and rehabilitation of such districts and discourages demolition.
City of Richmond
Commission of Architectural Review
Ms. Parry explained that the White House of the Confederacy is located within a City Old and Historic District and that the relocation of the structure would therefore be subject to the Commission's review.
In reviewing requests for relocation, the Commission must consider four criteria: whether the proposed relocation would have a detrimental effect on structural soundness; whether the proposed relocation would have a detrimental effect on other historic sites, buildings, or structures in an Old and Historic District; whether the new site provides surroundings compatible with the architectural character of the relocated building or structure; and whether the new site is located within a City Old and Historic District.
will hold its final meeting on November 21, 2005, at 2:00 p.m. in Richmond.
Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005