Say Sesquicentennial Seven Times Fast

There’s no better time than the eve of a sesquicentennial for the small team at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar to focus on their future.

Although the old Tredegar iron works site has hosted museums before, the American Civil War Center opened its doors to the public in 2006. It was the first museum in the nation to focus on the three key perspectives on the major American conflict – Union, Confederate, and African American.

That unique approach – and a mission to “tell the whole story of the conflict that still shapes our nation” – made a recent, two-day staff retreat a compelling challenge.

Because the 13 person team was almost evenly divided between four-year veterans, recent hires and in-betweeners, we started our work together with some discussion on how each group saw the institution and its purpose. The different perspectives were both real and important, and they gave shape to subsequent discussions on the center’s emerging role as a central starting point on the road to understanding the American Civil War for Richmond residents, tourists, history buffs and academics.

Over the course of our two days together, the staff reworked its strategic focus and increased its sense of alignment. In the coming weeks, the staff will work with the center’s national board of directors to fine tune their strategic work and position the center as a critical hub in the 150th year commemoration of the first shots fired in the American Civil War.