The Lynchburg Museum is pleased to present the second phase of this major exhibition on Virginia during the Civil War. An American Turning Point: Waging War comes to the Lynchburg Museum courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Waging War focuses on technology, weaponry, leadership, and Virginia as the major battleground of the war. The exhibit, which has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, opens Saturday, January 12 at 10:00 a.m. and runs through Sunday, May 5.
Since the Civil War initiated vast changes in technology and invention, the exhibit explores the use of balloons, railroads, and communication devices. Visitors are challenged to text on their cell phones to see if they are as fast as a telegrapher, who sent the message in 54 seconds that President Lincoln had been shot. Also included is an exhibit on James Hanger, one of the first amputees of the Civil War and founder of a company that still produces prosthetic limbs today. A compass used by Confederate cartographer Jedediah Hotchkiss, who mapped the Shenandoah Valley for General Stonewall Jackson, is also on display.
One major exhibit element is the battlefield scene where visitors experience a 3D setting complete with sound effects. Notable artifacts include items recovered from the USS Monitor shipwreck, a pocket watch owned by General Stonewall Jackson, maps, photographs, JEB Stuart’s revolver, and an octant, a navigation device used on the CSS Virginia. Also included are weapons that show the evolution of firearms from smoothbore muskets to Sharps carbines to Spencer repeating rifles. Original art depicting the battle between the Monitor and Virginia by Xanthus Smith is included as is the well-known portrait of General Jubal Early by John Wycliffe Lowes Forster.
Visitors will learn about the “Angel of Marye’s Heights,” the 19-year-old South Carolina soldier Richard Kirkland, who carried water to wounded Union troops between the lines at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Other stories relate to Siah Carter, a slave at Shirley Plantation on the James River. Carter rowed to a Union gunboat to his freedom and then served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Monitor.
On Saturday, January 12 at 10:30 a.m., Exhibition Coordinator Andy Talkov from the Virginia Historical Society will lead the inaugural tour of the exhibit. Museum System members will be admitted free.
The Lynchburg Museum System operates the Lynchburg Museum at 901 Court Street and Point of Honor located at 112 Cabell Street. For general information, call 455-6226 or visit www.lynchburgmuseum.org, www.pointofhonor.org or the Museum’s Facebook page.