The Museum and White House of the Confederacy, struggling financially for
several years, got more bad news yesterday with the General Assembly’s approval
of a two-year state budget. The museum would receive just $50,000 of a $700,000 grant the downtown
institution had requested for fiscal 2006-08. "We anticipated a one-time grant to help us temporarily sustain our operation
and allow us to plan a more financially secure future," said Carlton P. Moffat
Jr., chairman of the museum’s board of trustees. "We are disappointed that the
state chose not to grant the majority of our request. The money was to have been used to reverse the museum’s deficit, expected to
reach $500,000 this year, and for planning.
Behind their financial concerns the museum has contemplated moving, along with the White House of the Confederacy, to a more accessible location.
Visitation at the White House, a National Historic Landmark, has declined
steadily from a high of 92,000 in the early 1990s to about 55,000. One problem
is that the museum’s small campus near 12th and East Clay streets has been
nearly crushed amid expansion of Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical
I sincerely hope that the museum and the city can work through these issues. The museum holds a wealth of valuable artifacts and documents, and their recent exhibits clearly reflect a willingness to consider controversial topics that are all too often ignored. As a historian and teacher I would hate to see us lose all of this.