Artifact of the Month

Artifact of the Month | Brooch and Earrings

Civil War prison camps were notoriously awful places to spend any time. Both governments in the conflict were ill prepared to take care of the large number of prisoners that ended up on their doorsteps. Forts, warehouses, and even islands in the middle of a river or lake were made into makeshift camps for the thousands of prisoners who survived the battlefield only to have to fight the conditions of their incarceration. Many faced inadequate shelter to protect against the blazing hot sun or winter winds, overcrowding, and lack of food and clothing.

Artifact of the Month | Portraits of John Young Mason Anderson

Named for his recently-deceased maternal grandfather, politician and diplomat John Young Mason (1799-1859), John Y. Mason Anderson posed for his portrait at the Vannerson & Jones Photographic Studios, located on Main Street in Richmond, Virginia, holding a toy musket. Born prematurely in April 1860 to Mary Anne Mason Anderson and Archer Anderson, John Y. Mason also died prematurely at the age of six in June 1866.

Artifact of the Month | Confederate Congress Chair

In May 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, decided to move the seat of government to Richmond, Virginia. The question arose of where to put them.

Virginia’s capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson, was offered to the Confederate Congress, then a unicameral, or single, body of 116 members.  As the Virginia Convention was adjourning for the summer, the Confederate Congress had the House of Delegates Chamber to themselves.

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