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Merging Civil War museums pick a name

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A new Richmond museum merging the Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center has been named.

The combined institution will be called the American Civil War Museum. It will occupy a new building on the site of historic Tredegar Iron Works near the James River.

The two museums announced their merger plans in November, with museum presidents slated to become co-CEOs of the new institution. In late 2013, museum leaders gathered public input on the new museum and its name .

“One of the most compelling aspects of the market research was the fact that regardless of their backgrounds, the participants generally came to the same conclusions regarding the name,” Christy Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center, said in a statement. “In addition, each expressed an overwhelming desire that the stories and exhibitions be comprehensive and provide new insights into the conflict.”

“The market research was a great experience,” Waite Rawls, president of the Museum of the Confederacy, said in a statement. “Time and again the participants told us, ‘Tell people what it is. Don’t mince words or be cute.’  I think we have accomplished just that.”

In branding the new museum, the institution plans to use the tagline, “Confederacy, Union, Freedom.”

The American Civil War Center is currently based at Historic Tredegar, a 8.9-acre site that has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service’s Richmond Battlefield Park Visitor Center also is on the site. Tredegar Iron Works, a major industrial employer throughout the 19th century, produced many of the Confederate cannons used in the Civil War.

The Museum of the Confederacy , which includes the White House of the Confederacy, is located several blocks away on Clay Street. The location is largely surrounded by buildings in the Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical campus.

The Museum of the Confederacy also includes a smaller museum in Appomattox, which opened in 2012.

The Times-Dispatch reported in November that the White House, occupied by Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family during the war, would continue to be operated by the new museum. The adjacent Museum of the Confederacy building would retain its gift shop and classrooms but would no longer be used for exhibits.

The new museum building at Tredegar is expected to cost $30 million, of which $20 million already has been raised. Completion of the building is expected in 2016.

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