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Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation's facility to focus on 1864 Valley Campaign; partial opening date set for April 2
By Amber Marra - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- A new museum scheduled to open soon at the Hupp's Hill site will continue the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation's goals of acquiring land and educating people.
The first part of that equation already was taken care of in November when the foundation leased the Hupp's Hill property from the Bernstein Family Foundation, solidifying a plan to create an 1864 Valley Campaign museum.
Now with the museum's partial opening date set for April 2, foundation president Tim Stowe and vice president Mike Kehoe can focus on the second part of that equation.
"It's a slow-moving train right now, and we'll be gearing up through April and have it running full speed in May," Kehoe said.
The foundation still has its work cut out for it before any ribbon-cutting can happen. Stowe and members of the foundation have been coming up to work on the museum site on weekends in preparation for opening day.
Once it is complete, visitors will find artifacts and battlefield evidence, maps, biographies of commanders and a taste of what civilian life was like during the Civil War.
"It wasn't all military; there were a lot of farms and families that saw sons and fathers go off to war, and I think it's very important to tell that story as well," Stowe said.
A 30-seat theater that will play Civil War-related documentaries and movies also will be built in the middle of the museum.
A makeshift camp site complete with a freight wagon and tent also will be included to show what life was like for Civil War soldiers while they had down time between battles.
"We don't want to just put out 1,000 bullets; we want to put out artifacts that help tell the story and reinforce the history of the area," Stowe said.
Much of the display will be subject to change, as Stowe wants to showcase different artifacts on occasion. The outside of the museum, which is ripe with earthworks used to support cannon fire before and after the Battle of Cedar Creek, will be used to hold short seminars on artillery and cavalry, Stowe said.
Before any of this can come to fruition, Stowe and Kehoe need some help, however. In order to not only meet the partial opening date, but also the grand opening in May, the foundation is looking for volunteers to help prepare the site, act as docents once it opens, and even help clean up the grounds and surrounding trails.
The town of Strasburg also has been asked to join in the effort by creating a visitors center in the foyer of the museum.
The Strasburg tourism committee's chairman, Doug Miller, explained to the Town Council at a meeting in November that the Cedar Creek foundation would need grounds maintenance such as mowing and snow removal from the town, which would cost between $5,000 and $6,000, but would not require any additional employees or equipment. He also said that the town would need to hire a staff person to man the post Thursday through Sunday, which would cost about $15,000 as an out-of-pocket expense. The foundation would provide a staff person for the rest of the week.
A draft of the memorandum of understanding between Strasburg and the foundation was discussed briefly at a council work session Monday night after being looked over by the mayor, town manager, and town attorney. There were some feelings of discouragement among some of the council members regarding the memorandum, despite its heavy editing process.
"This has struck me as a rather unfair document that puts the town in a very subordinate position and it's really unacceptable," said Councilman Don Le Vine. "There are numerous paragraphs when the town is essentially at the mercy of the foundation if they choose to make a decision."
Stowe will meet with the council regarding the memorandum in the next month. Anyone wishing to volunteer for the foundation should e-mail Kehoe at email@example.com.