G. Ashleigh Moody, III & Family
Members of the Museum of the Confederacy
22 July 2005
House & Senate Committee Members &
Museum of the Confederacy Board Members
22 July 2005 Meeting
Subject: Museum Membership Public Input
Dear Honorable Committee and Board Members,
Under your effort to provide the membership and public with a forum into your planning process, we want to provide input for your review and consideration during this process. We are against any movement that impairs this National Treasure in any manner.
Fortunately, we have National standards, and a National Trust that provides details of such preservation and protection of such sites for all Americans, not just for members like us, or the museum board, etc. In addition, we feel our input can help the process.
It is recognized that included in the White House of the Confederacy’s significance on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Preservation Trust is location and use. This significance of location is destroyed by movement or by inappropriate site use. This is not progress! Very possibly one day, the hospital will move.
The National designation on the register of Historic Sites by the National Trust of Historic Places in America assigns a “trust” that this American treasure will not be “violated.” Who would do this today? Wonderful ladies during the last century dedicated themselves to preserve and protect this treasure. This history is also a significant historical attribute of this treasure. Their work withstood two World Wars and a Depression, etc. With their past success in saving the White House and collections, we should look at what they would do today.
Please let us add that those who would categorize museum members or any others as troublemakers for opposing any move by the White House and its collections are flawed in their assertion. We have found such allegations by the museum administration insulting. Is this a part of their planning orchestration we see?
We asked to be included in your further meetings on this issue for the purpose of providing additional information. Thank you.
G. Ashleigh Moody, III & Family
218 High Street
Member, Museum of the Confederacy,
Email: email@example.com, (804) 895 1070
Virginia General Assembly Joint Subcommittee..
..studying the MOC will hold its first meeting on July 22, 2005
The Virginia General Assembly has scheduled the first of three or four meetings for a joint subcommittee to examine the declining situation of the Museum of the Confederacy in its troubled surroundings. The July 22 meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Virginia General Assembly building opposite the State Capitol. Legislative officials have indicated the possibility that after the logistical proceedings are concluded, the meeting may move several blocks north to The Museum of the Confederacy or the adjoining White House of the Confederacy.
Museum officials have been increasingly disturbed by the museum’s declining admission, income, and endowments during the last five or six years of construction and expansion of neighboring Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical complex. Faced with the pending construction of a new 14-story hospital adjacent to the east side of the museum (already bounded on the south and west sides by high-rise medical buildings), trustees and Executive Director Waite Rawls last year undertook a study of the options available to protect the museum’s viability. Museum officials have kept the public informed of the options under consideration. The option of moving the White House to another location where the museum would be rebuilt is opposed by some.
Thus, the museum requested the state study last fall in an effort to provide the public with an effective statewide forum and also in hopes that the state might bring resources to the study that the museum has been unable to during its own process of deciding its future viability.
Delegate William R. Janis (R-56th) Del_Janis@house.state.va.us sponsored the bill (House Joint Resolution 747), which unanimously passed both houses of the General Assembly this past winter. Since then, the Speakers of the House and Senate have made the following appointments to the subcommittee: Delegates R. Steven Landes (R-25th), R. Lee Ware, Jr. (R-65th), Ryan T. McDougle (R-97th), and Franklin P. Hall (D-69th). Senators are: Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-3rd), Benjamin J. Lambert III (D-9th), and Charles R. Hawkins (R-19th).
The legislation provides for up to four meetings with a conclusion to be delivered no later than the first day of the 2006 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
"Making a Confederate Disneyland out of the MOC is not the answer. You already have one of those.
I hate cities - I haven't been to Manhattan since 1995 - and I only went because I had sworn to someone that I would attend her graduation. Bottlenecks, nasty people, congestion - that's what I associate with a city.
I didn't see any of those in Richmond. I'm sure it has its problems, but I didn't see gridlock, I didn't see panhandlers, I saw what looked to be a charming area, one that is quite accessible given the fact that it's a city.
And remember the guy who gave you directions at the parking lot when you turned down the wrong street? If that had been Nooo Yawk he would have given you the finger instead.
I thought Richmond was heads and tails above any city I've seen. The museum should stay where it is. There's plenty of space for more displays inside too. And as far as the White House was concerned, I had a lump in my throat through the whole tour. I thought it was very moving - and should stay just where it is.
If there's something that needs to be moved, it's --
THAT AWFUL LOOKING FISH BY THE DOOR!!!!
When we first walked up to the front, from a distance I thought it was one of those mechanical horses that little kids ride on after mommy puts a quarter in.
Date: 2 September 2005
Thank you for your very thoughtful and rational letter about the MOC and White House.
I believe you understand this situation much better than their director and board.
Leaving the museum where it is currently located enhances its ability to reach university students who otherwise might never have paid any attention to this vital part of our past. People visiting the museum would not have any more difficulties parking than do the students and staff.
Every compromise we make to modernity is a defeat. The MOC and the White House should remain where it is.
Tim D. Manning, M.Div.
Virginia Division Chaplain
Sons of Confederate Veterans
North Carolina Heritage Foundation
160 Longbridge Drive
Kernersville, North Carolina 27284-6333
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Vallante
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 10:53 AM
Subject: Re: Museum of the Confederacy -- Who Has The Facts?
I just got my first look/visit to the MOC and the Confederate White House this past week.
I am therefore, no expert on the feasibility of moving either the White House or the Museum building itself, but allow me to share some thoughts nonetheless
First, there are two separate buildings - the original White House, which housed Jefferson Davis and his family during the war, AND, right next door, the Museum building itself, which I am told was built back in the 1980s. Prior to that, I am given to understand, the museum's collection of artifacts was housed in the "White House" itself. I guess the collection got too large for the White House so they built a new building right next door to it. The two buildings are separated by a courtyard.
Second - "under seige" means that VCU has built HUGE buildings around both the MOC and the White House, and it is in the process of building more. When I was there, a HUGE crane actually hung over the MOC building.
My impressions and/or opinion:
1. The MOC building is big enough to hold the collection it has and more.
2. I'm no expert on moving buildings, BUT, if one were to try to move the "White House", it would be a far cry from moving, say, Paul Revere's house, which is essentially a small wooden cottage. The White House is nearly 4 stories high, has more rooms than I can count, and is constructed of STONE! You'd have to take down every traffic light in Richmond, not to mention the trees, in order to move it. Just my opinion, but I don't think its feasible or even possible.
3. Historic sites have indeed been moved in the past. One example cited was the Cape Hatteras Light House. However, I am given to understand that the site has to be in some kind of danger, either of a physical nature or of losing its historical significance due to major changes in the surrounding area. I'm not sure that VCU building stuff around the MOC building or the White House building constitutes any danger. After all, the Alamo sits between two skyscrapers.
4. The parking wasn't that bad. Go to any major museum in NY City - THAT'S WHERE THE PARKING IS BAD! In Richmond you go into a multi level parking garage, walk over to the elevator, take it up to street level, and you are practically at the MOC door. I don't care much for urban areas and congestion, but frankly, I didn't find it all that bad. The streets in the area are not populated with panhandlers, but with students, doctors, nurses, business people - hell, even the street vendors were nice!
5. I suppose it would be possible for the MOC to move its collection out of its present building and to another location while leaving the White House where it is. However, and this is just my opinion, I'd prefer to see the museum at least remain in the neighborhood. Despite the VCU eyesore, the neighborhood still has character. One speaker proposed moving the MOC and its collection out to where the science museum is. That neighborhood has NO character whatsoever.
6. Expansion of the University - My guess is that VCU would love to have the museum building itself. They'd probably turn it into either a cafeteria or a classroom building. Right now VCU is building around the MOC building and the White House. As far as any possibility of selling the White House building to VCU, I'd rather go to war than see that done.
7. Again, an impression - when the tour guide opened the front door of the White House, she explained what Clay Street would have looked (and smelled) like, back in the mid 1800s. When she opened the door I could almost visualize what it looked like - ok, I'm nuts, I know, and I have an overactive imagination I suppose. But when you visit an historical site, isn't that supposed to happen? I can't see the White House being anywhere else other than where it is. Just my opinion.
Finally, in the past, I have argued with the MOC's director regarding another issue - that being, the lending of genuine Confederate battleflags to the Park Service in Gettysburg. There are currently two flags which are earmarked for "lending".
I have repeatedly pointed out to him the Park Service's avowedly hostile approach to all things Confederate. I have sent him cut and pastes of their quotes and cut and pastes of quotes from the PC historians who support the Park Service's "interpretations" of the war and its causes.
I might as well shoot tennis balls at a tank because what I say seems to bounce off his head! The director either just doesn't get it, or he doesn't want to get it. All he can see is that flag restoration costs lots of $$$ and that displaying these battleflags in the NPS visitor's center at Gettysburg, might bring in donations. Maybe so - but why would you want to have your ancestors' battle flags displayed in a building run by an organization who MOCKS THEM!?
Again, the director of the MOC simply refuses to listen. For that, he has earned my distrust.
If his judgement with regard to the VERY BAD IDEA of partnering with the National Park Service is so abysmally bad, and I truly believe it is, then why should I trust his judgement in the matter of moving the museum?
9th Inf. Va. Co. C. (reenactor)
SCV Camp 1506 (associate)
21 September 2005
A Resolution by the Virginia Division SCV Executive Council
Sons of Confederate Veterans
I hope that you will have questions and and inquire concerning this very important information furnished below:
Please take notice below of the Resolution Adopted by the Virginia Division Executive Council concerning the relocation of The White House of the Confederacy. While the discussion goes on as to why the Museum of the Confederacy has gotten into financial distress, a potentially irreversible casualty of the relocation process may be the White House of the Confederacy which has stood at 1201 East Clay Street in Richmond for over 160 years.
Currently some advocate relocating the White House away from its location because of nearby construction at the Medical College of Virginia. Well here are some facts:
1) If the White House is relocated it will no longer be a National or Virginia Historic Landmark. Landmark status is based on a monument/building making an important location in history and is not based on the building/monument itself. The White House is 1 of only 117 National Historic Landmarks in Virginia
2) If the White House loses its Historic Landmark status it will no longer be eligible for many grants and endowments based upon such status. Instead of helping the financial situation, it will actually compromise it.
3) MCV has agreed to leave Clay Street across from the White House open and will not be erecting another high rise there against commonly circulated rumor. The building across Clay Street has landmark status and will not be torn down. MCV will use the existing building for office space.
4) The Museum has been offered at $100,000 a year stipend to help it through any decreased visitorship during the construction period of MCV's new building. The new building will be blocking some of the view of the museum which was already limited to the top of a parking deck, a portion of I-95, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge and some of the buildings of Shockoe bottom. Not much of a pristine view to begin with and not a view important to directing visitors to the Museum or White House in the first place.
5) The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Park Service both agree that the White House should be left in its current Historic location. The NPS noted that the MOC and White House now receive more paying visitors annually to that one site than all of the free NPS battlefield sites in and around Richmond.
6) No outside reviews of the MOC's finances have been performed to look for ways to better raise funds and cut expenses. No studies have been performed that show relocating the MOC or White House will lead to increased visitorship or revenue, the only reasons for which relocation should even be considered.
7) The Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the National Park Service, the Valentine Museum, etc. are not colluding together to steal the White House for themselves. They cannot do that unless the MOC agrees to sell to them against popular rumor.
8) MCV has no intentions of trying to take the White House and could not legally tear it down. As one expert said, that isn't going to happen. Expressing regret and objection to the consideration of relocating the White House of the Confederacy from the present physical location.
WHEREAS, The people of the Commonwealth of Virginia have a vested historical interest in the White House of the Confederacy remaining in its present location; and
WHEREAS, The current probable publicized relocation sites are separate and apart from the interests of The White House of the Confederacy in terms of historical preservation and in the loss of financial grants based upon landmark status; and
WHEREAS, The White House of the Confederacy will be relegated to the status of an incomplete artifact if relocated and will irrevocably lose its status as a Virginia and National Historic Landmark as expressed by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
WHEREAS, The Directors have not shown that The Museum of the Confederacy’s current financial crisis was brought about solely by the temporary decline in attendance due to the nearby MCV construction nor have they had the Museum’s financial position reviewed by qualified outside experts; and
WHEREAS, Efforts by the current Directors have not been directed towards fund raising as an alternative to alleviate the financial crisis and they have failed to demonstrate how relocation will provide for increased visitation or revenue;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
THAT THE VIRGINIA DIVISION SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS does hereby express our deepest objections to the relocation of the White House of the Confederacy, which stands as a monument to the history and legacy of our people;
THAT THE VIRGINIA DIVISION does consider any plan to partially or completely disassemble and relocate the White House of the Confederacy to be a shameful and repugnant act in direct confrontation with our belief in monument preservation.
THAT THE VIRGINIA DIVISION requests the members of the Board of Directors as well as the Virginia Legislature Study Committee direct their efforts towards exposing the underlying causes of The Museum of the Confederacy’s decline, engage in fund raising, and seek legislation or ordinance to arrest the possibility of any development of Clay Street and the buildings across Clay Street from the White House of the Confederacy as opposed to considering any relocation propositions.
Click Here For Important Insight and Information from a most
recent Former MoC Board Member:
Monday, August 29, 2005
PRESENTATION OF ROBERT HENLEY LAMB TO THE JOINT SUBCOMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE COST AND FEASIBILITY OF RELOCATING THE MUSEUM AND WHITE HOUSE OF THE CONFEDERACY - HJ RES. No. 747
Click on The following Newspapers for their account:
.....we have the benefit of professional testimony from all four State meetings. There is more!
What Will The Future Bring?
"Certainly the MOC is enclosed by the MCV-VCU Campus, but it is also firmly entrenched in downtown Richmond, close to the State Capitol, Interstate 95 and other main roads, historical venues, Etc.
It would seem to me that the MOC should work harder to get improved signage. They should take advantage of their historical location and work with other museums and cultural institutions in the area. They need to improve fundraising and "get on the ball" with their direction or the MOC will soon become a thing of the past. There are a lot of positives which the MOC does not take advantage of."
-- Brag Bowling, 24 October 2006
March 19, 2007 Rockbridge Weekly
MOC Issue Decisive At Lexington Meetings
President Waite Rawls Answers Questions (?????? 2d Video Below)
By Pate Wood
Please See Videos At:
"Folks Close To The Source!" Confederate Group Wants To Save Museum
"Folks Close To The Source!" Sons of Confederate Veterans Oppose Moving Museum To Lexington
A History -- Click on the Dates Below" >>
Lexington: S. Waite Rawls Speaks -- EyeOnVirginia.com:
I like Mayor Wilder's stated view for the record. Richmond's Mayor Wilder, former Governor of the State of Virginia expressed a very good question for the MoC management:
"They want to stay in Richmond, and we want them to stay in Richmond," said Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat and the nation's first Black elected governor. "The problem is we don't have money to give them. ... The question is what will it take for them to stay in Richmond?"
Listed below are a variety of Television Reports, Newspaper Reports and Professional Testimony relating to the future of the Museum of The Confederacy on Clay Street Richmond Virginia. Some of the news reports have been taken down from online, but I am sure they are available upon request from the sources.
"Several thoughts :
1 - As I have mentioned in our conversations before, there is a need for “new blood” on the Board of the MOC and its directorship. The Board should be composed of concerned, thoughtful people who are active, who participate in its activities, who embellish Southern Heritage and its now, obviously, fragile History in danger of extinction. The days of the composition of the Board being predominantly wealthy folks who have contributed money but rarely, if ever, set foot in the place, should be over.
2 - The prevailing feeling of the membership of the MOC, and even nonmember bystanders (the public), is that, (because of the lack of innovative thinking, the failure to take advantage of the 400th year anniversary of our country, the apparent absence of common sense concern for the survival of the MOC and WHOC at its present location and even the preservation of its name), the Board and its director are ‘dead’.
3 – Because of the above, the MOC and WHOC have been made “Cannon Fodder” by the liberal press and anyone else who wishes the ultimate demise of the museum. Surely, they must be literally jubilant in their celebration of watching the MOC self-destruct - without them ‘having to fire a shot’.
4 – The present maneuvering to move the MOC to Lexington must be headed off. The ‘worn-out’, misdirected reasoning of the encroachment of the VCU medical complex is not legitimate. Richmond’s loss, the capitol of the Confederacy’s loss of its priceless unique collection of Artifacts is insane.
5 – The MOC flourished through some historically difficult times when the ladies of the DOC and
others lovingly ran it. Thought should be given to returning to this mode or a similar mode of operations and abandoning the current top-heavy organization of its present structure.
6 – Of all the players of the current direction and plight of the MOC and WHOC, the one person that commands the most respect, and the one that the public associates with synonymous thoughts of the MOC is you.
I know you are tired, very tired of wielding your sword for the MOC, and its has been understandably easy to turn over the financial and difficult political battles over to others. But the eyes of everyone involved are on you. Your great-grandfather is turning over in his grave. Please summon the strength to get on your battlehorse one more time – turn this current ill-fated tide that has enveloped the MOC back in the right direction.
We stand poised to help,......"
-- Ron Toney, 3 May 2007
Important Commentary May 3, 2007
Valuable insight by a valuable member of the Museum of the Confederacy
The Free Lance-Star
Date published: 3/9/2008
NOTICE! No further updates beyond the above date due to lack of support from National Heritage groups, Etc. Thanks to all those in Virginia and beyond who were successful in bringing this issue to light in the news, Etc. so that future generations will know the truth and know that someone did care about the path this museum has taken.