Saturday, April 21, 2012

Observations from VAM's VCU Work-Study Students

The American Civil War Center at Tredegar and Virginia Historical Society provide detailed, yet different, views of the American Civil War. The Virginia Historical Society specifically examines battles and historical figures while the American Civil War Center analyzes the effects of the war on the Union, the Confederacy, and African-Americans. The Virginia Historical Society makes the viewer aware that the American Civil War was not solely about slavery. The exhibit focuses on important people that influenced and events that occurred during the war. The information provided is thorough and can easily keep attendees occupied for a large sum of hours. Visitors are certain to be engaged while browsing the exhibit thanks to the multiple means of interaction present throughout the building. There are “lift and reveal” plaques disclosing interesting facts, an area where visitors are able to wear costumes from different eras, and audio/video aids placed about the museum.

The American Civil War views the impact on both sides (Union and Confederate) as well as how African-Americans were affected. These three viewpoints presented by the exhibit allow vistors to better empathize with each individual group. The amount of information available at The American Civil War Center is staggering. Two floors hold countless facts about the war that stretch around the room in a circular fashion. If historical architecture is of interest, a visit here could prove worthwhile as the exhibit consists of the remaining buildings from the old ironworks site.

Both the American Civil War Center and the Virginia Historical Society do an excellent job at showcasing the American Civil War. Both provide fascinating details of the war. The best decision for anyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of American history, would be to attend both sites. For more information about either site, please visit their websites at &

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