I’ve been designing a Civil War exhibit in my mind since I was 10! So this project was like being a kid in a candy store. The Historical Society has a great collection of Civil War objects, letters, and diaries.
One of the challenges was that we were charged with creating a display that would be on continual display for the entire 4 year length of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
As a result, we weren’t able to show some of the best things that we had for that length of time. We ultimately decided that the stories that we could best tell, that our collection supported, were the stories of everyday people. Initially there was this sense that the exhibit would be all of the great Civil War objects of Virginia history collected from institutions all over the country.
Instead, what the exhibit became was an exhibit about ordinary people during extraordinary times doing extraordinary things, as told through relatively simple objects that they left behind.