Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American
Civil War Commission
June 8, 2010
Speaker Howell called
the Executive Committee meeting to order and announced that Delegate Lingamfelter
had been appointed to the Executive Committee to fill a vacancy created
by the retirement of Delegate Eisenberg.
Dir., Local Assistance Division, VA Department of Transportation (VDOT)
Estes presented an overview of the Federal Enhancement Grant Project:
Sesquicentennial and Scenic Byways Promotion, a partnership between VDOT,
the Commission, the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), Virginia Wineries,
Civil War Trails, and the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT).
Mr. Estes explained
that 10 percent of the federal funds VDOT receives must be used for nonmotorized
projects. The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) administers the
federal transportation enhancement funds. The CTB receives roughly 150-200
applications per year, in turn awarding grants to approximately 100 projects.
In the coming fiscal year, the CTB has set aside approximately $3 million
for a statewide initiative aimed at promotion of the scenic byways program
and the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.
The main components
of the partnership initiative include:
- Acquisition of
unprotected battlefield land in the Piedmont and south-central portions
of Virginia in partnership with the CWPT.
- Development of
smartphone GPS-enabled applications for visitors to download and use
in touring Virginia’s Civil War battlefields.
with Virginia Civil War Trails to update maps and install gateway markers
in the state’s Welcome Centers.
of interactive multimedia centers in Welcome Centers throughout the
state that coalesce information from the (i) Scenic Roads in Virginia
map, (ii) Then/Now map on the Commission’s website, and (iii)
map of Virginia wineries.
Mr. Estes indicated
that the funds will be available in October 2010 and a vendor should be
on board by early 2011, with an estimated launch of summer 2011. In response
to questions, Mr. Estes estimated that the initial phase of the project
would include installation of the multimedia centers in six or seven Welcome
Civil War 150 HistoryMobile
Chief Historian/Chief of Interpretation, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania
National Military Park
Mr. Hennessy summarized a revised and enhanced overview/script for the
Civil War 150 HistoryMobile. Since the HistoryMobile
is intended to function primarily as an educational tool accessible to
school children, Mr. Hennessy advised that the contents contain limited
text and be highly interactive and experiential. Mr. Hennessy outlined
the basic structure of the storyline describing what visitors will experience
as they move through the HistoryMobile:
- Visitors will
start with an introductory short film on the causes of the Civil War
using actual dialogue from that time period to frame the debate leading
up to the war.
- Visitors will
then proceed to an immersive environment in which sight and sound will
be used to convey the human experience of battle.
- From the battlefield
experience, visitors will move to the facade of a dilapidated farm house
where the focus shifts to the home front.
- Visitors will
participate in a decision-making interactive that emphasizes the dilemmas
that many Virginians faced during the war.
- Next, visitors
will encounter Journey to Freedom, an interactive exhibit that
will guide visitors through the decisions that faced slaves during the
- Finally, visitors
will enter the concluding portion of the exhibit, which will include
an overview of the losses, gains, and legacies of the Civil War, with
a focus on encouraging visitors to further explore the many historical
sites and battlefields in Virginia.
In response to questions,
Mr. Hennessy assured members that stories of slavery and freedom are interwoven
throughout the exhibit. Members expressed their appreciation and agreed
that this storyline should move forward.
Executive Vice President, Virginia Trucking Association
Mr. Bennett provided a status update on the donation of a tractor
for the HistoryMobile. Mr. Bennett explained that he is still
in discussions with Volvo Trucks North America and that the company is
amenable to donating a tractor for the project; however, the details have
not yet been finalized. Mr. Bennett further stated that Volvo indicated
that at the very least it would refurbish a 2006 or 2007 tractor with
a sleeper cab and provide it at a low-cost lease rate. Mr. Bennett expressed
his desire to continue negotiating with Volvo to try and secure a tractor
and trailer free of charge.
Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission
Ms. Jackson presented a brief overview of the development of the HistoryMobile
and the process of issuing an RFP for its fabrication and tour management.
Ms. Jackson indicated that an initial estimate for fabrication of the
storyline as presented is approximately $770,000 with an estimated $550,000
to operate the HistoryMobile for a 24-week tour. A significant
portion of the costs will be paid with grant funds from the National Endowment
for the Humanities, Altria, Wal-Mart, and other private donors.
Ms. Jackson suggested
the following development schedule over the next few months:
- June - Continue
to hone storyline with John Hennessy and staff of the Virginia Historical
- July/August -
Issue an RFP for fabrication and tour management.
- Evaluate bids from the RFP and present recommendations to the Executive
Committee for consideration and approval.
- October - Have
designer in place.
The above schedule
will allow for fabrication in early 2011, with an estimated launch date
of spring/summer 2011.
members agreed to move ahead with the HistoryMobile development
as Ms. Jackson proposed. Ms. Jackson was asked to continue working with
Dale Bennett on tour logistics and to secure a donated or low-cost tractor
Levengood, President and CEO, Virginia Historical Society
informed members that since the Manassas Museum had to table plans for
an expansion, it would no longer be able to host the gallery exhibition,
“An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia,”
as planned due to lack of sufficient space. However, Dr. Levengood stated
that the gallery exhibition would still be able to travel to Northern
Virginia for display at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico.
Advantages of this location include its proximity to I-95 and the fact
that the museum boasts 500,000 visitors per year. The Marine Corps Museum
will be able to accommodate the entire exhibition at one time due to a
planned expansion of the location. The exhibition is slated to be at the
Marine Corps Museum from January through June of 2014. Dr. Levengood also
explained that although Manassas cannot host the gallery exhibition as
it will appear at the Marine Corps Museum, it will still be able to host
the panel version of the exhibition. Additionally, an enhanced version
of the panel exhibit will be on display at the Fredericksburg Area Museum.
A motion passed
unanimously approving the change of venue from the Manassas Museum to
the National Marine Corps Museum.
VP Marketing, Richard Lewis, Public Relations Manager, Virginia Tourism
Mr. Lewis presented
an overview of sesquicentennial marketing and public relations activities
undertaken by the VTC to date. In addition to conducting research to update
the profile of Civil War travel in Virginia, the VTC has also administered
the sesquicentennial marketing grant program awarding over $33,000 to
local committees throughout the state.
Mr. Lewis continued
by outlining future promotional activities planned for the sesquicentennial
- Commercial spots.
- Newspaper ads.
marketing in the United Kingdom and Germany.
- A webpage dedicated
to the sesquicentennial commemoration.
Further, Mr. Lewis
explained that one of the Virginia Travel Guides will feature Civil War
travel in Virginia on its cover and will have four pages dedicated to
the topic in 2011.
Ms. Bechamps reiterated that Civil War travelers as a group are a tourism
driver for Virginia, staying longer than other tourists and spending 50
percent more. Ms. Bechamps continued by reviewing the costs associated
with the future activities Mr. Lewis previously outlined. Additionally,
Ms. Bechamps discussed the cost of making VTC’s website www.virginia.org
interactive, advertising the Commission’s document digitization
program, and creating a children’s program where children are rewarded
based on the number of Civil War sites they visit. Ms. Bechamps explained
that given the costs of advertising today, she estimates that all of these
activities will cost an additional $650,000.
members had a number of questions regarding the cost of the proposal.
Ms. Bechamps confirmed that the VTC will receive an additional $7.2 million
in the next two fiscal years through the appropriation act, leading members
to express concern as to the necessity for additional funds for the activities
as presented. Ms. Bechamps and Mr. Lewis reiterated VTC’s commitment
to marketing the sesquicentennial commemoration with or without additional
to take action on the proposal, requesting instead that VTC work with
staff of the Commission, Senate Finance Committee, House Appropriations
Committee, and Department of Planning and Budget to pare down the proposed
budget, eliminate duplicative and unnecessary spending, and establish
performance benchmarks. Once revised, the proposal will be considered
at an upcoming meeting.
Jackson presented recommendations for funds remaining in the Commission’s
budget for fiscal year 2010. Ms. Jackson explained that after conferring
with finance staff, it was suggested that given the uncertain budgetary
times, the bulk of the unexpended funds should be carried over to the
next fiscal year. However, some of the remaining funds could be used on
Commission projects in FY 2010. These projects include an estimated $30,000
- $50,000 to develop and install signage promoting the sesquicentennial
commemoration in each of the Welcome Centers and other visitor centers
throughout Virginia, as well as an additional $200,000 to double the number
of grants available to local sesquicentennial committees.
A motion passed
unanimously that the suggested funding allocations for FY10 as outlined
by Ms. Jackson be approved.
Approved and Pending
accordance with the procedure established by the Executive Committee,
Ms. Jackson presented a list of applications to affix the Commission’s
logo that had been preapproved by staff. A motion passed unanimously that
staff recommendations for approval of logo applications be given final
approval by the Executive Committee.
Jackson suggested that the Advisory Council be convened later this summer
to update members on Commission projects and seek feedback. The Executive
Committee agreed and directed Ms. Jackson to proceed with coordinating
of "Walk in Their Footsteps" Database
Due to time constraints, a demonstration of the Walk in Their Footsteps
database was tabled until the next meeting.
The Hon. William
Michele Howell, DLS Staff
of Legislative Services > Legislative
Record > 2010