Rosewell to Feature Civil War Exhibition
in March 2018
The 19th century history of the house once described as the “grandest in Virginia” will be featured during March when The Rosewell Foundation presents The Civil War beginning in March 2018.This traveling exhibition explores the Civil War, which was the most transformative period in US history.
Drawing upon letters, personal accounts, and images, the exhibition engages visitors in the understanding of how soldiers, presidents, freedmen, and families struggled to address the nature of democracy and citizenship. The exhibition will also examine the extreme human toll of the Civil War, described as the bloodiest in US history.
Gloucester County has an intriguing Civil War history; it was the home of the 21st Regiment of the Virginia Militia. This small, but effective regiment fortified the battery at Gloucester Point which was charged with the task of discouraging Yankee ships from coming up the York River. Gloucester native and Page Family descendant Thomas Jefferson Page held a position of leadership with the 21st Regiment.
The traveling exhibition is on loan from the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History and will be on display at the Rosewell Visitors Center from March 22nd - April 21st, 2018, from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. The price of admission for The Civil War is $6 and includes a self-guided tour of the Rosewell Plantation Ruins.
Rosewell will take Visitors
Beyond the Bricks in 2018
Visitors to the Rosewell Plantation will have the opportunity to look beyond the bricks that remain as the haunting reminder of the magnificent three-story home that once stood on the site. The program Beyond the Bricks will give guests an up-close and personal look at the Rosewell Plantation through the eyes of those who lived and worked there.
“It’s an experience that takes you into the heart and soul of the home once known as the best house in Virginia,” explains Foundation Executive Director Katrina White Brown. “Historic houses are much more than just bricks and mortar and nails and wood. Rosewell had a heartbeat and a pulse generated by those who built it, lived there, maintained it, and died there,” Brown said. Beyond the Bricks helps guests walk in the steps of those who created and built this nation, she noted. “When you experience the history, instead of just hearing about the history, it becomes much more relevant and meaningful,” Brown pointed out.
Rosewell was the ancestral home of three generations of the Page Family, including three-term Virginia Governor John Page. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Nelson, the family of the powerful Robert “King” Carter, and other icons of history spent time at Rosewell. Although touted as an architectural masterpiece when it was completed in 1738, the story of Rosewell is also about the people who built their lives there during the time.
Brown explained that the diversity of the Rosewell community also provided a portrait of Gloucester County in the 18th and 19th century. “Black, white, free, enslaved, wealthy, and poor people all made a life together at Rosewell. Beyond the Bricks gets guests personally engaged with real life as it was lived on Virginia plantations like Rosewell” she said.
The program is based on extensive research and information contained in primary documents such as journals and diaries, wills, property inventories, and tax records. Judith Carter Page, one of the mistresses of Rosewell and an enslaved woman named Polley are among those whose lives at the Rosewell Plantation are examined. “It takes guests beyond what the documents reveal however. Beyond the Bricks helps guests engage with what the history books do not or will not say,” Brown noted.
Beyond the Bricks will be presented weekly and by request when Rosewell reopens for the 2018 season on April 1st. Interested school groups and organizations should call Rosewell at (804) 693-2585 to schedule the program. Special discounted rates are available for schools and groups of nine or more.
Rosewell Initiates $3 MM X 300
Fund Raising Campaign
Rosewell has embarked on its most ambitious fundraising effort to date, with its $3 MM by 300 Campaign, designed to raise three million dollars by the 300th anniversary of Rosewell in 2025.
Board President Clayton James explained that the campaign is aimed at the continued preservation and stabilization of the ruins. “With no uncertainty, the Rosewell Plantation Ruins stand today as one of America’s most important historical landmarks. This great mansion and the community of people who lived and worked there were not idle by-standers in American history. American history was forged at Rosewell,” James said.
The absolute relevance of Rosewell is fueling the campaign. James noted that it has been 100 years since the great mansion was ravaged by fire. “The past century has not been kind to this historic treasure. The negative impact of erosion, invasive plant growth, and time are easy to see when visiting Rosewell, and I believe it is the responsibility of this generation to protect the impressive structure that remains. It is our obligation to ensure Rosewell’s stories and lessons can be passed on to many future generations, because we all know that without historic monuments like Rosewell, the world will lose its informed perspective on the difficult lessons learned over the past 300 years” James said
In 2025 Rosewell will celebrate its 300th anniversary. The $3 Million by 300 capital fundraising campaign is designed to celebrate this milestone. The Rosewell Board of Directors has established an aggressive preservation and stabilization campaign, which includes completion of an extensive stabilization plan, along with an architectural blueprint that strategically details how to stabilize and protect the Ruins. James added “all that is needed now are the funds to implement and complete the blueprint, and the $3 Million by 300 initiative is one that gives the community a prime opportunity to invest in this amazing Gloucester County resource.”
James concluded “no one can do everything - not the Board of Directors, or the individual contributors - but everyone can do something. Together, we can make a difference and ensure this great home is protected for the next 300 years.”
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