The Museum of the Confederacy is located in Richmond, Virginia. The museum includes the former White House of the Confederacy and maintains a comprehensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts, Confederate imprints (books and pamphlets), and photographs from the Confederate States of America and the American Civil War (1861–1865). In November 2013, the museum's governance was merged with the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. In January 2014, it was announced that the new combined institution would be called the American Civil War Museum.
White House of the Confederacy
The White House of the Confederacy is a gray stuccoed neoclassical mansion built in 1818 by John Brockenbrough, who was president of the Bank of Virginia. Designed by Robert Mills, Brockenbrough’s private residence was built in early nineteenth century on East Clay Street in Richmond's affluent Shockoe Hill neighborhood (later known as the Court End District), and was two blocks north of the Virginia State Capitol. President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis, his wife Varina, and their children moved into the house in August 1861, and lived there for the remainder of the war. President Davis maintained an at-home office on the second floor of the White House due to poor health.
History of the Museum
Opened as the Confederate Museum on February 22, 1896, it was housed for many years in the former White House of the Confederacy. The Museum of the Confederacy was founded by influential Richmond society ladies, starting with Isabel Maury who was later joined by Ann Crenshaw Grant, and Isobel Stewart Bryan. Isabel Maury was the founder of the Museum of the Confederacy but she also was the first Regent of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society (CMLS). The Isabel Maury Planned Giving Society continues the work of Mrs. Isabel Maury, daughter of Robert Henry Maury, who, with the Relics Committee, was instrumental in securing much of the Museum's current collection.
Mrs. Isabel Maury was a cousin to Matthew Fontaine Maury, the naval officer and scientist credited as the father of modern oceanography. Matthew Fontaine Maury lived in Robert Henry Maury's house in the early part of the American Civil War and would walk the two blocks to the White House of the Confederacy on a daily basis. It was in this house that Matthew Fontaine Maury first worked with burning underwater fuses for torpedoes in a tub of water.
Today there are old and new plaques on the building that testify to this. Mrs. Grant was the sister of Lewis Crenshaw, who owned the house just prior to the war, and was married to James Grant a wealthy tobacconist who also lived within the neighborhood. Mrs. Bryan was the wife of Joseph Bryan, a wealthy businessman and publisher, whose family is still associated with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Location near Virginia State Capitol
The museum and White House of the Confederacy are located two blocks north of the Virginia State Capitol, and within walking distance of several other museums and historic sites, including the Executive Mansion of Virginia, Monumental Church, St. Paul's Church, John Marshall House (a Preservation Virginia property), and the John Wickham House (Valentine Richmond History Center). It is, however, completely surrounded by and its view is cut off from those sites by the VCU Medical Center (formerly the Medical College of Virginia hospitals) of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
The neighboring and expanding hi-rise medical facilities stirred debate in 2005 about the possible relocation of the Museum and the historic White House building. In 2006, museum officials announced that the White House of the Confederacy, a National Historic Landmark (1963) and Virginia Historic Landmark (1966), will not be moved.