Rumors of a merger between the two museums have been in the air for the past few months, but today it’s official. The Museum of the Confederacy and American Civil War Center will join forces to create one new museum on the grounds at Tredegar, along the James River. No one who has followed the problems plaguing the MOC over the past few years will be surprised by this decision. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Christy Coleman and Waite Rawls as public historians and as caretakers of Richmond’s rich Civil War past. With the help of individuals like Ed Ayers and others, Richmond is guaranteed a respectable and attractive new addition to its museum landscape.
My only regret is that it looks like the MOC will cease to exist as an institution in Richmond. It’s unfortunate because the museum itself represents an important piece of the history of the Lost Cause and memory in Richmond. Perhaps this new institution will be able to find a way to tell that story. Ultimately, I understand that such a concern pales in comparison with the benefits that this new museum will bestow on the Richmond area and for the Civil War community as a whole.
Of course, there is also the question of whether the public itself will support this new endeavor. As you might imagine, this new museum will not be open before the end of the sesquicentennial. We shall see.
Best of luck to all parties involved in moving forward on this ambitious project.