White House

White House Wednesday | Mary O'Melia

By Bryce VanStavern
White House Specialist

One of the things we try to do as the education and interpretive staff at the American Civil War Museum is make sure our visitors understand how war affects everyone. It is not just soldiers that get caught up in the onslaught of war. Civilians too can find their lives drastically changed. One such person during the American Civil War was Mary O’Melia.

White House Wednesday | White House Evening Tours Give Voice to Untold Stories

By Patrick Saylor
Director, Marketing Communication

Old homes hold many stories within their walls, and the house at 12th and Clay Streets in Richmond is no exception. As the residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family from 1861-1865, the White House was the scene of many conversations and interactions, both public and private, among family members, free and enslaved servants, and visitors.

White House Wednesday | Behind the Stanchions | Two Men, Two Different Choices

By Bryce VanStavern
Interpretation Supervisor

I once worked with an interpreter who told a visitor, “I can’t answer any question that begins, ‘Why did they’.” I chuckled at that, but he did go on to explain that sometimes we simply cannot understand motivation. In many cases, well meaning attempts to understand the “Why did they” question leads to some extraordinary and persistent myths.

White House Wednesday | Hall Chair with Special Compartment

By Robert Hancock
Senior Curator and Director of Collections

These elaborately carved hall chairs can be seen in the entrance hall of the White House. The seat of the chair is hinged and lifts up to reveal a shallow compartment sufficient to hold a pair of gloves or sheaf of papers; any small items a visitor might not wish to carry through the house. 

White House Wednesday | Behind the Stanchions | A New Path


By Bryce VanStavern
Interpretation Supervisor

In 1988 the White House of the Confederacy opened to the public for tours after a 12-year restoration. In preparing for public tours, staff had to decide how best to guide visitors through two floors of the house. Much thought went into making those decisions, and for almost 30 years, tours of the White House of the Confederacy have followed the same path.

White House Wednesday | Behind the Stanchions |The House, B.D. (Before Davis)


By Sam Florer,
Lead Historical Interpreter 

When families gather, dinner table conversations often turn to the universal boogeyman, politics. After such a long and polarized election, the chances are as high as ever for a strained relationship with your uncle and/or mashed potato stains on your dining room wall.

I plan to avoid the topic altogether and instead talk about history. There can’t be controversy around an event that happened more than 100 years ago, right?


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