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National Civil War Chaplains Museum features many new historical artifacts
The National Civil War Chaplains Museum (NCWCM) located on the campus of Liberty University has recently added many new historical artifacts and exhibits to its collection.
The NCWCM is the only Civil War museum of its kind that focuses on the role priests, ministers, rabbis and people of faith played during the war between the states.
Attendance is free to the public and has been booming since moving to the new location in the old WRVL Radio building next to the Visitor’s Center.
“Our visitors who have come to the museum since these items have been put on display are intrigued by them and give us a favorable response when we send them follow-up emails to gauge their thoughts on the museum,” Director of the museum Kenny Rowlette said.
The U.S. Christian Commission Headquarters Flag is one of the most popular new artifacts. The flag represents the organization during the Civil War that gave the Union soldiers medical supplies while also providing religious support.
The Gettysburg exhibit, which was provided by the J. Howard Wert Gettysburg Collection, features items found on the battlefield. A Confederate pistol, a Saint Rita “pocket saint,” a photo and wallet of a U.S. soldier, a Catholic Last Rites kit and a Celtic cross are included in the display.
Two new paintings of the Irish Brigade chaplain Father Corby at the Battle of Antietam are showcased in the museum. In the midst of the smoky battlefield, Father Corby was seen riding around on his horse offering his blessing to the troops.
Chaplain Lorenzo Barber of the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters Exhibit features a model of the 2nd U.S. sharpshooter and a replica .41 caliber Whitworth sharpshooting rifle used by Confederate soldiers. In addition, images and information on Barber accompany contents and a replica of his writing desk.
Other new items in the NCWCM include weapons used by troops: a replica Le Mat revolver and Colt Pocket revolver, Civil War pistols, and many more artifacts. A Confederate canteen, personal shaving kits of a chaplain and prints of leaders Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis are also new to the gallery.
Although the museum is home to many new artifacts from the Civil War era, there are certain older exhibits that tend to attract a crowd.
“Our most popular exhibit remains the ‘Shipping Coffin’ or ‘General’s Coffin’ which was used to ship home the bodies of wealthy U.S. soldiers or officers who were killed in the war,” Rowlette said.
In regards to acquiring the items, Rowlette said when he hears of interesting artifacts that people have in their possession, he asks the owners if they would be interested in loaning or donating their item to the museum collection. In some cases, people will donate their artifacts.
Rowlette believed that the new artifacts and exhibits will have a positive impact on the number of visitors the NCWCM will receive.
He encouraged students and community members to take a trip back in time and check out the new displays at the NCWCM located on campus.
Coleman is a news reporter.