Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission

June 18, 2007

Executive Committee Report

The Executive Committee met to discuss and consider expenditures of the commission's 2007 appropriation. Several proposals were presented, including those from the Virginia Historical Society, American Civil War Center at Tredegar, and Blue Ridge Public Television.

2007 Appropriations

Dick Hickman, Senate Finance Committee
The General Assembly appropriated a total of $122,000 for 2007 and $2,769,400 for 2008. This amount reflects expenses for the Commission and the Advisory Council. Mr. Hickman also explained that the General Assembly appropriated $573,800 for 2007 and $273,800 for 2008 for non-state agencies for expenses related to the Civil War.

Program Funding Options

Dr. Charles Bryan, Jr., President and CEO

Traveling museum exhibition- The exhibit area, consisting of a total of 4000 square feet and two parts, would open at the VHS in Richmond in 2011, and then travel during the next three years to Roanoke, Abingdon, Lynchburg, Fredericksburg, Winchester, Manassas, and Hampton. The two components consist of a) battlefront and b) homefront. The two components of the exhibition will travel to each museum at different times.

HistoryMobile- The VHS and Library of Virginia will work together to develop a mobile exhibition, featuring a few key artifacts and documents plus high-tech maps and displays. The exhibition would travel by tractor trailer to every county and city in Virginia throughout the commemoration period.

Alex Wise, President and CEO

Experiential film- An IMAX type of immersive, 360 degree film experience that discusses the Civil War in Virginia from a character-driven point of view. Instead of giving facts about battles and places, the viewer would perceive the war from a particular character's point of view.

Orientation exhibit- Leading into the theater would be an orientation exhibit area. One key focus of this area would be on an interactive map that directs visitors to the other Civil War attractions they can see in Virginia.

Educational programs, including adaptation of the film for schools- Portions of the film would be available in DVD format for distribution to schools. Trailers of the film could also be used for the Welcome Centers throughout the state.

Sesquicentennial Digital Program- This option would take 15 individuals from Virginia who were part of the Civil War and allow school children to follow their stories. The concept would be "Real people in real time."

Dr. James I. Robertson

Dr. Robertson proposed a joint venture with Blue Ridge Public Television to create a three-hour DVD on Virginia and the Civil War. The DVD would be produced for use in schools and would have nine 20-minute segments on the legacy and the coming of war, military campaigns, the African-American experience, the life of common soldiers, historic personalities, and the home front. Dr. Robertson suggested producing 5,000 copies for to schools statewide.
The Executive Committee previously endorsed the traveling exhibition and HistoryMobile and agreed to award $50,000 in planning funds to the Virginia Historical Society for each of the exhibitions with specifications to be available by November 2007. The members also agreed to establish funds for the development of the commission website.


The chairman has established the following three workgroups to focus on the work of the commission and to provide oversight and monitoring. The workgroups will meet as often as needed and will brief the commission on a regular basis.


  • Location, event, and information coordination.
  • Local sesquicentennial committees.
  • Liaison with sesquicentennial commissions in other states.
  • National sesquicentennial planning and events.
  • Welcome Center information, kiosks, and orientation film.


  • Unifying themes, stories, and goals for the events.
  • Commission-sponsored events, including lectures, symposia, films, and battlefield tours.
  • VHS traveling exhibit.
  • Mobile/tractor-trailer exhibit.
  • Public relations.


  • Students, teachers, administration, and PTA involvement.
  • Higher education involvement.
  • Public library involvement.
  • Teacher institutes.
  • SOL, curriculum, and teacher resources.
  • Law school symposia.
  • Document preservation project.

Next Meeting

A meeting of Workgroup #2, Signature Events and Activities, of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will meet at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, in the 6th Floor Speaker's Conference Room of the General Assembly Building in Richmond.

The Hon. William J. Howell

For information, contact:
Cheryl Jackson, Hudaidah Bhimdi, DLS Staff

http:// www.virginiacivilwar.org

Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

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