19th Annual Symposium
February 16-17, 2024

500 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219

The American Civil War Museum’s 19th Annual Symposium: The Impending Crisis will feature esteemed scholars discussing America on the verge of civil war and feature a behind the scenes view of our upcoming exhibition, The Impending Crisis.

This event will be held in the Foundry building on the ACWM Tredegar campus. The Museum is just a few feet away, and symposium attendees will be given free general admission to the museum during the Symposium weekend (2/16-2/17). We hope you will join us for our special event weekend!

Presented as part of our continuing partnership with
The John L. Nau Center for Civil War Studies at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Richard Blackett
Andrew Jackson, Professor of History Emeritus, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Richard Blackett is a historian of the abolitionist movement in the US and particularly its transatlantic connections and the roles African Americans played in the movement to abolish slavery. He has published books on the movement, including his first: Building an Anti-Slavery Wall. Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860, (1983). His most recent book is Samuel Ringgold Ward. A Life of Struggle (2023) and The Captive’s Quest for Freedom. Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery (2018). He has taught courses in American, African-American, and Caribbean history. He has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University, University of Houston, and Vanderbilt University. In 2013-14, he was Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University.
Dr. Adam I.P. Smith
Edward Orsorn, Professor of U.S. Political History and the Director of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
Dr. Adam Smith’s specialism is the political history of the United States in the nineteenth century. In 2017, the University of North Carolina Press published his latest book, The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865. This book won the Jefferson Davis Prize, awarded by the American Civil War Museum, and was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize for the best book on Lincoln or the Civil War soldier, awarded by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History. It offers a new view of the northern path to war, focusing on the mass of northern voters who self-defined as ‘conservatives’ and whose shifting responses to the unfolding political crises shaped events more than is usually appreciated. His principal area of research explores the relationship between ideas and political behavior. His aim in recent books and articles has been to analyze political change grounded in how ‘ordinary’ people in the nineteenth century experienced and understood their world. His first book, No Party Now (Oxford University Press, 2006), analyzed the tensions between wartime pressure for conformity and the practice of electoral politics. In 2017, the University of North Carolina Press published The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865, (2017).
Dr. Edward L. Ayers
Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus, University of Richmond
Edward Ayers is a university professor of the humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond.  He has won the Bancroft and Lincoln Prizes for his scholarship, been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama at the White House, served as president of the Organization of American Historians, and
was the founding board chair of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond. He is executive director of New American History, dedicated to making the nation’s history more visible and useful for a broad range of audiences. His latest book is American Visions: The United States, 1800-1860 (W.W. Norton, 2023)
Dr. Gary Gallagher
John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War Emeritus, University of Virginia
Gary W. Gallagher received his B.A. from Adams State College of Colorado (1972) and his M.A. (1977) and Ph.D. (1982) from the University of Texas at Austin. He began his academic career in 1986 at Penn State University, where he taught for twelve years. In 1998, he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia and held the John L. Nau III Professorship in the History of the American Civil War and served as the founding Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Confederate War (Harvard, 1997), Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know About the Civil War (UNC, 2008), The Union War (Harvard, 2011), The American War: A History of the Civil War Era (co-authored with Joan Waugh; Spielvogel Books, 3rd ed., 2023), and The Enduring Civil War: Reflections on the Great American Crisis (LSU, 2020). He has served as editor of three book series at the University of North Carolina Press (“Civil War America,” with more than 115 titles; “Military Campaigns of the Civil War,” 10 titles; and “The Littlefield History of the Civil War Era,” 15 titles) and appeared regularly on the Arts and Entertainment Network’s series “Civil War Journal” as well as participating in more than five dozen other television projects in the field. He held the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship in 2010-2012 (the highest teaching award conveyed by the University of Virginia) and won the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in 2013. Active in the field of historic preservation, he was president from 1987 to mid-1994 of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and also served as a member of the Board of the Civil War Trust, now the American Battlefield Trust.


Dr. Caroline Janney
John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, University of Virginia; Director, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History
Caroline Janney is an author and historian whose scholarship focuses on the Civil War, Memory, and Women and Gender. She holds a B.A. in Government and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia. She is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia, where she also directs the Nau Center for Civil War History. She is the author of Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause and Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, which was awarded the Southern Historical Association’s Charles Sydnor Award and the American Civil War Museum’s Jefferson Davis Award and was an honorable mention for the OAH Avery O. Craven Award and Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia. She is a past-president of the Society of Civil War Historians and a co-editor of the University of North Carolina Press’s Civil War America series.

Event Information

500 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219


Your ticket to the ACWM 2024 Symposium includes:

An exclusive reception with the Symposium speakers and a “Behind the Exhibit” program with the Collections Department – (2/16)
• Preview of our upcoming exhibition: The Impending Crisis (2/16)
• Entry to the 2024 Symposium: The Impending Crisis, and a boxed lunch (2/17)

Tickets purchased after the end of the day on February 13th will not include boxed lunch.
Check-in and registration will occur in The Foundry from 8:45 AM to 9:30 AM.


There will be free parking available for this event in our museum parking lot at ACWM-Tredegar. ACWM staff will be available to answer any questions and provide assistance upon arrival.


After the presentations, Symposium speakers will be available for book signings. Books can be purchased onsite at the event or on our website’s Symposium Bookstore. Shop for titles ahead of the event here.

Ticket Information


Members – $100
(with promo code)

Non-ACWM Members – $150

Teachers & Students – $75 (with promo code)

Livestream – $35
(The livestream will begin on Saturday after check-in has concluded at 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time)