Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American
Civil War Commission
November 9, 2009
Speaker Howell, Chairman,
welcomed everyone and highlighted a number of successes of the past year:
the first Signature Conference, a joint kickoff event at Harpers' Ferry,
and the distribution of an educational DVD to every public school in Virginia.
DVD for Schools
- Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance
reported that the DVD, Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance,
along with an accompanying content outline and a flier outlining sesquicentennial
programs that may have special interest to educators, was distributed
the week of November 2 to every public elementary, middle, and high school
throughout the Commonwealth.
Ms. Jackson mentioned
that staff has received numerous inquiries from private school teachers
and others who would like to obtain copies of the DVD, and requested guidance
from the Commission on selling the DVD through the Commission's website,
and at a discount to educators. A motion passed that the Commission approve
the sale of the DVD, Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance,
at a cost of $20.00 plus shipping and handling, with a special discount
Ms. Jackson requested
further guidance from the Commission on whether or not local committees
would be allowed to air the DVD on local access channels. No consensus
was reached, but the Commission agreed to revisit the question in six
months. The Commission also deferred the decision of whether or not to
make the DVD accessible to educators on a password-protected area of the
Endowment for the Humanities Grant
Ms. Jackson reported that the Commission and its project partner, the
Virginia Historical Society, had recently received a Chairman's Special
Award grant in the amount of $950,000 from the National Endowment for
the Humanities: $500,000 was allocated to the VHS gallery museum exhibition
and $450,000 to the HistoryMobile.
Ms. Jackson briefly reviewed the 2009 sesquicentennial commemoration
kickoff events. The first program in the Commission's Signature Conference
Series was held this past April and was an overwhelming success. Sales
of the conference DVD have been brisk. Ms. Jackson praised the efforts
of Dr. Ayers and the University of Richmond staff for producing a manuscript
that has been accepted by UVA Press for publication. Ms. Jackson introduced
Elizabeth Chenery, who helped coordinate logistics for the conference
in April and has subsequently become familiar with the editorial process
required for producing the conference publication. For the sake of continuity
and efficiency, it was the consensus of the Commission to engage Ms. Chenery
as an editorial assistant and logistics advisor throughout the conference
Ms. Jackson also
reported on the success of the joint event held by the Virginia and the
West Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commissions in June. Attendees
were treated to a screening of clips from Virginia in the Civil War: A
Sesquicentennial Remembrance, as well as a pilot vodcast tour developed
by the Commission in partnership with the National Park Service. In addition,
a panel of noted historians held a discussion on the opportunities of
regional informational meetings for local sesquicentennial committees
over the summer and found there is a lot of energy and interest being
generated for the commemoration. Local committees continue to update information
on the Then/Now interactive map on the Commission's website. Staff encouraged
local committees to build on Commission projects when developing local
programming and when submitting grant applications to the Commission's
tourism marketing grant program. Review of local committee grant applications
will be done mid-November 2009 with recommendations reported to the Executive
Committee in December.
A Project Review
Team had been formed to advise the Commission on the development and build-out
of the content for the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile. The Project Review
Team is also consulting on the development of a Teacher Staff Ride program
as well as a regimental history database tentatively titled, "Walk
in Their Footsteps." Recommendations of the Project Review Team will
be presented to the Commission in the coming months.
to create a sesquicentennial commemoration commission at the federal level
has recently been introduced and will continue to be monitored by staff.
updated the Commission on development efforts. To date, the Commission
has raised over $1.2 million to offset the state's financial contribution
for sesquicentennial programming. In addition to the $950,000 NEH grant,
substantial support has been committed by prominent corporations and foundations.
A $25,000 grant from the Roller-Bottimore Foundation purchased all of
the servers, scanners, and required infrastructure for the Commission's
document digitization effort, The Legacy Project, which is being developed
in partnership with the Library of Virginia.
PROJECT: DOCUMENT DIGITIZATION AND ACCESS - LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA
Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia
Lyndon H. Hart, III, Director, Description Services Branch
Treadway and Mr. Hart provided a status update on The Legacy Project:
Document Digitization and Access. Mr. Hart summarized the project
objectives and reported that beta test visits to Danville and Winchester
were successful, with over 800 images scanned. Further, a number of local
committees have expressed interest in participating in the project. Based
on this success, Library staff requested that the Commission allocate
$262,226 to fund Phase I of the project - collection of images statewide.
A motion passed that the Commission approve funding for full implementation
of Phase I in the amount of $262,226.
Dr. Treadway thanked
the Commission and indicated materials collected during the beta test
visits can be accessed on the Library of Virginia's Virginia Memory web
page at http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/collections_a_to_z,
under "Civil War Legacy Project."
MARKETING PROGRAM - VIRGINIA TOURISM CORPORATION
Richard Lewis, National Public Relations Mgr.
Sean McCarthy, Research Director
the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) reported on Commission-funded marketing
and tourism research activities to date. Mr. Lewis reported that the main
goal for the sesquicentennial marketing plan is to reach out to the general
public as well as those interested in history and heritage tourism in
general, and encourage them to come to Virginia for the
Mr. Lewis described
the Civil War media tour held for 17 travel journalists in September,
noting that it was a big success and has already generated several news
stories. Mr. Lewis also reported that the VTC has received nine applications
so far in the second round of sesquicentennial tourism marketing grants.
Mr. McCarthy reported
on the marketing research conducted by the VTC and funded by the Commission.
Survey results show that 22 percent of the target markets say that Civil
War historic sites are significantly important when choosing travel destinations
in Virginia. Additionally, one in seven tourism dollars come from travelers
interested in Civil War history. Based on these and other figures, the
VTC suggests a three-tiered marketing strategy aimed at Civil War Travelers,
History & Heritage Travelers, and Leisure Travelers to capture the
largest audience possible during the commemoration. Additional information
on the VTC marketing research report can be viewed on the Commission's
CONFERENCE - "RACE, SLAVERY AND THE CIVIL WAR: THE TOUGH STUFF OF
Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dr. Charles Ford, Dr. William Alexander,
University Host Committee leaders
presented the program proposal for the second Signature Conference to
be chaired by acclaimed historian, Dr. James O. Horton, and hosted by
Norfolk State University (NSU) on September 24, 2010. The conference program
will be divided into a morning and afternoon panel discussion with renowned
Civil War historians, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Dr. James
McPherson. Discussions in the morning will focus on the history of race,
slavery and the Civil War, while afternoon discussions will focus on the
memory and interpretation of the same. The NSU host committee representatives
gave an overview of the university's goals for the conference program,
which will be held in the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center, and
described a number of exciting additional activities the committee is
planning in partnership with area museums, historical sites, and tourism
bureaus to highlight the university and the greater Norfolk area's Civil
War assets. A motion passed to approve the 2010 conference proposal.
CONFERENCE - "AMERICAN MILITARY STRATEGY IN THE CIVIL WAR"
Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., Conference Chair
reviewed plans for the Signature Conference to be held at Virginia Tech
May 21, 2011. Dr. Robertson will serve as conference chair and planning
is well underway. Thus far, seven historians have accepted the offer to
participate. Additionally, the Stonewall Brigade Band has agreed to provide
noontime entertainment for the conference, which will be held in Cassell
Coliseum. A motion passed that the 2011 conference proposal be approved
WITH VIRGINIA STATE PARKS AND CAPITOL-TO-CAPITOL TRAIL
Joe Elton, State Parks Director, Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
Mr. Elton briefly
updated the Commission on the information kiosks developed and installed
throughout the state for state park system visitor use. Mr. Elton offered
to let the Commission add Civil War-related information to the existing
kiosk system. Partnering with the state parks and using existing infrastructure,
rather than developing new kiosks, will save approximately $600,000.
A motion passed
for the Commission to work collaboratively with the state parks and Imperial
Multimedia to incorporate its web-based resources on the existing kiosks
in the state park system, the Capitol Trail, and on www.virginiaoutdoors.net
At Speaker Howell's
request, Richard Lewis agreed that the Virginia Tourism Corporation would
collaborate with this partnership by sharing the VTC's hotel, restaurant,
lodging, and reservation data.
on the park system information kiosks can be found at http://www.virginiaoutdoors.net.
OF THE FIRST BATTLE OF MANASSAS (JULY 21, 2011) - LOCAL PLANNING
Ed Clark, Superintendent, Manassas National Battlefield Park
Creston Owen, Chairman, Virginia Civil War Events, Inc.
Mr. Clark reported
on plans to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas
on July 21, 2011. The National Park Service (NPS) is coordinating with
Commission staff and the Prince William County local sesquicentennial
committee on plans for events and activities surrounding the anniversary.
In addition, each sixth grade student in Prince William County will visit
the battlefield in 2011.
Mr. Clark invited
the Commission to participate at the 150th anniversary event to be held
at Manassas National Battlefield Park in July 2011, which will be national
in scope. In response to questions, Mr. Clark affirmed that a request
for funding was not attached to the invitation.
A motion passed
that staff work with the National Park Service to develop a commemorative
program at the Manassas National Battlefield Park to mark the 150th anniversary
of the First Battle of Manassas.
Mr. Owen reported
on the activities of a new nonprofit corporation, Virginia Civil War Events,
Inc. A sesquicentennial headquarters will be opening soon in downtown
Manassas, and plans are underway for a weeklong event in July 2011. Mr.
Owen indicated that it is imperative that Manassas take advantage of the
opportunities to capitalize on its Civil War history and increase visitation
to the area, much as Gettysburg has done. Additional details on this event
and other related activities can be found at http://www.manassascivilwar.org
and at http://www.virginiacivilwarevents.org.
Mr. Ackerly asked
that staff draft a letter of congratulations from the Commission to the
Civil War Preservation Trust and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation
on the recent preservation of 209 acres at the site of the Third Battle
The Hon. William
Brenda Edwards, Michele Howell, DLS Staff
of Legislative Services > Legislative
Record > 2009