APPOMATTOX, VA. - With West Virginians' interest in the Civil War increasing as the state's 150th birthday approaches, Mountaineers who venture into the Old Dominion might consider visiting the Museum of the Confederacy's Appomattox branch.
The museum is the newest part of the Museum of the Confederacy's system, which includes two facilities in Richmond.
Although the branch doesn't say much about the creation of West Virginia, it does use images and artifacts to speak volumes about some of the people who endured the Civil War.
For example, there's a picture of Capt. Joseph M. Storey. Behind the photo is the uniform Storey wore in the photo. Between the photo and the uniform is the bullet that tore into his left lung.
"Our artifacts came to us from either the veterans or the veterans' families themselves," said Linda Lipscomb, site director.
"Most of our things were in our collection by the early 1900s, so we're not out digging up things. We're not buying them from eBay. We still get some donations to us from family members of veterans so the pieces we have, we know where they came from - we know the provenance on them."
The museum's exhibits contain a trove of 179 artifacts, 25 Confederate uniforms and 22 original Confederate flags. Highlights include Gen. Robert E. Lee's presentation sword (made in France) and the frock coat he wore the day the Confederates surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army at Appomattox Court House.
The museum's permanent collection has six themes: Government and succession, the military, Robert E. Lee, the home front, the African-American experience and Appomattox.
The museum has 11 interactive workstations where visitors can delve further into the subject matter. For example: At the "Make Your Own Flag" workstation, visitors use a touch screen to select colors, symbols and designs to create a flag.
Another workstation contains a database of the Confederate parole list. Visitors can enter a name and find out if an ancestor may have been at the surrender.
One portion of the museum contains displays that change periodically. Also, the museum hosts numerous special events. A schedule is posted online at www.moc.org/events.
The gift shop is loaded with Civil War books and videos. The museum has a long front porch filled with rocking chairs for guests who want to relax and enjoy a view of the rolling countryside.
The Museum of the Confederacy is headquartered in Richmond. It has three locations: The museum in Richmond, established in 1890; The White House of the Confederacy, also in Richmond; and the museum at Appomattox.