Fredericksburg Features

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History calendar

“From the Sahara to the Shenandoah.”   Opened March 1. Mansard Gallery, Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Third exhibit in museum’s Community Artist series features landscape paintings from the Shenandoah Valley and the Sahara by local artist Kathleen Walsh.  On public view through May 31. 1001 Princess Anne St.;; 540/371-3037. 

“A Private Function.”  7 p.m., Tuesday, March 6, Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center.  Rappahannock Film Club presents a special viewing of hilarious British comedy starring Maggie Smith (rated R) as part of its 2011–2012 season.   Central Rappahannock Regional Library will present the rest of the club’s films. Museum’s Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, William and Princess Anne streets. Free; open to the public.  Details: Email Scott Lyons at

Ellwood Manor seeks interpreters.  Love history? Enjoy people? Able to commit a few hours a month in April through October? Ellwood, the circa-1790 plantation house that welcomes visitors to the Wilderness battlefield in Orange and Spotsylvania counties, welcomes new volunteers. The first training date is Friday, March 9; candidates will be treated to a historian-led tour of the battlefield from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 10. Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, an all-volunteer, nonprofit group, manages Ellwood for Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. The historic site—which served the Confederate army in the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Union army during the Wilderness fighting—begins its 15th season on Saturday, April 28. An interpretation post comes with privileges. Space limited. Contact Carolyn Elstner, 540/373-6240 or Get an application at; select “volunteer,” click “request more information,” print and mail to Carolyn Elstner, 2 Commonwealth Place, Fredericksburg, Va. 22405.

Second Saturdays at the Museum. 1–3 p.m., Saturday, March 10. In tandem with the “Greetings From the Past” exhibit at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Learn about the history of greeting cards, discuss the change brought about by technology, and create your own card. Themes vary for this family program,  held on the second Saturday of each month.  Free. Registration  not required.  Details: Contact Janelle Kennedy at, or 540/371-3037, ext. 142. Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, William and Princess Anne streets.


Family Day at National Museum of the Marine Corps.  12–3 p.m.,  Saturday, March 10. Bring your kids to the museum so they can make their own models with the National Capital Modelers. Free. 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle. 703/784-6116;

Civil War Forum. 9:55 a.m., Sunday, March 11. Sydnor Hall, St. George’s Episcopal Church. 50-minute talk by author John J. Hennessy, chief historian of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. 905 Princess Anne St. Enter hall, beneath the church’s nave, from George Street. Series continues March 18 and 25 with historians Michael Aubrecht and Donald C. Pfanz. Free.

“Unconquerable Love: Confederate Scout Frank Stringfellow and Emma Green.” Monday, March 12. Virginia Morton, noted historian and author from Culpeper County, will address the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table during its meeting at Brock’s Riverside Grill, 503 Sophia St. Fredericksburg. Social, 6 p.m.; dinner, 6:45 p.m.; program, 7:30 p.m. Dinner reservations due by Wednesday, March 7: Questions? Call Gene Beverly, 540/775-3711.

Louisa May Alcott: Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 13. Harriet Reisen, author of “Louisa May Alcott,” will speak about the dynamic novelist who wrote “Little Women” and tended wounded soldiers in Washington during the Civil War. George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium at the University of Mary Washington. Free;;  540/654-1065.

“A Place Where the Past Is Always Present: Preserving Civil War Battlefields.” 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 14, auditorium, Central Rappahannock Regional Library headquarters. Première of a new, 30-minute documentary on why a regional nonprofit, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, does what it does. Film narrated by Dr. Michael Stevens, president of CVBT, produced by  Archer Di Peppe  and David Jennings, of Bonaventure Video. Free. In the Wallace Library, 1201 Caroline St.;

“Dinosaurs in Stafford!”  7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 15.  Paleontologist Jon Bachman will share recent discoveries about dinosaur fossils found locally, during meeting of Stafford County Historical Society, in Board of Supervisors Chambers, George L. Gordon Jr. Government   Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford. Free.

Juliette Low: Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Thursday March 15. Stacy A. Cordery, author of “Juliette Gordon Low” and professor of history at Monmouth College, will speak about  the founder of the Girl Scouts,  at George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium at UMW. In honor of Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary. Free;;  540/654-1065.

“Sacred Scars, Shadowed Ground: Images of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields.”   On exhibit through Friday, March 16.  In the fall of 2011, designer and photographer Larry Stuart of Anderson, Ind., took up residence in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  He spent a week exploring battlefields, at all hours of day and night, to  capture their power and essence. Stuart’s  show  is  the first temporary exhibition in Chatham’s history. Built in 1771, the  plantation and manor house overlook the Rappahannock River and Fredericksburg.  120 Chatham Lane, Stafford.; 540/654-5121 or 540/373-6124.

Birthday Celebration for James Madison.  9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Friday, March 16. The Montpelier Foundation invites you to commemorate the 261st anniversary of the birth of President Madison. At 1:30 p.m. in the Madison Family Cemetery, the Marine Corps will present a presidential wreath from President Obama, and  local groups will also present wreaths. Afterward, John A. Ragosta, a resident fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, will give a talk, “Is James Madison Still Speaking to Us About Religious Freedom?” From 9:30 a.m. onward, during tours of the mansion Montpelier’s curatorial team will publicly unveil his newly refurnished study, “Mr. Madison’s Room” by 19th-century visitors. At 11 a.m., in the Visitor Center’s Grand Salon, the Center for the Constitution will launch ConText, an online, crowd-sourced commentary on the “Notes of Debates on the Federal Convention of 1787” written by the Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. In honor of Madison’s birthday, admission to Montpelier’s grounds and ceremony is free. House tours $10 for adults, $5 for children 6–14.

“Churches Remember.”  Saturday, March 24.  Day of special programs—music, theater, images, dance and talks—hosted by the National Park Service and Fredericksburg’s historic churches for the Civil War sesquicentennial. 9:30–10:30 a.m., Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), Sophia Street: “Slavery, Exodus, and Freedom,” featuring powerful music. 10:45 a.m.–noon, St. George’s Episcopal Church: “Religion in the Civil War,” keynote address by University of Alabama professor George Rable, author of “God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War.” 1–1:45 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg: “Church and Community,” featuring theater and old-time preaching. 2–2:45 p.m., Fredericksburg United Methodist Church: “A Church Divided,” including theater and music. 3–4:15 p.m., Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site): “A Service of Hope,” an interdenominational, service encouraging all people to seek a genuine spirit of racial reconciliation. 7 p.m., Fredericksburg Baptist Church: “Voices in the Storm: A City of Hospitals,” dramatic readings, music and images. Venues are within an easy walks of one another. For people with limited mobility, shuttle buses will operate between Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) and St. George’s Episcopal Church. After Dr. Rable’s talk, St. George’s will provide box lunches for $10 in its basement. Lunchtime book fair features churches’ publications and histories, and Dr. Rable’s new book. All programs free.


“Stafford’s Moncure Daniel Conway’s Civil War: The Civil War Comes to Stafford.” 7 p.m. Monday, March 26. Part of   2012 Sesquicentennial Lecture Series by   Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Stafford historian–authors Jane  and Al Conner. Free.; 540/899-1703. England Run Branch, 806 Lyons Blvd., Stafford.

Guided Tours of the Galleries.  1:15 or 3:15 p.m., Saturdays through March. The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center  announces new, guided walking tours of its galleries. Free with paid admission. Volunteers will  guide   20- to 30-minute tours, focusing on the history of the Fredericksburg region and its people.  Museum open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays. 1001 Princess Anne St.; 540/371-3037;

“Greetings From the Past.”  Changing exhibition in the Documents Gallery of  the Catherine W. Jones McKann Center of the Fredericksburg Area Museum  features greeting cards—for Valentine’s Day, Christmas  and other holidays in the 1930s to 1950s—chosen from the collection of the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center.  Ends July 31. 1001 Princess Anne St.;; 540/371-3037.

Remembrance Days.  April 13–15. Discover Culpeper’s Colonial, Civil War and World War II-era history during weekend of programs, demonstrations and activities. New this year: a Civil War Lantern and Graveyard Tour. Aviation enthusiasts can enjoy the open hangar and vintage aircraft at Culpeper Regional Airport. Kids 8–17 will enjoy free flights sponsored by the Young Eagles program.  The Piedmont Railroaders will display model trains at Culpeper’s historic train depot.

An Evening With the Fisk Jubilee Singers.  7–9 p.m. Saturday, April 14. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, vocal artists and students at Fisk University in Nashville who sing worldwide, will perform in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium at the University of Mary Washington. The original Jubilee Singers introduced “slave songs” to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition, known today as Negro spirituals. Sponsored by the Fredericksburg–Stafford–Spotsylvania Sesquicentennial Committee, this event starts a monthlong series of programs commemorating the exodus of 10,000 slaves to freedom in the Fredericksburg area during the summer of 1862. Tickets for Fisk Jubilee Singers concert are free but limited to four per person. They can be picked up at Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, Fredericksburg City Visitor Center, and UMW. 540/654-5546 or 540/371-3037, ext 140.

Bus trip to Washington.  Wednesday, April 18.  The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center hosts a guided tour of period rooms at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, lunch in the Old Ebbitt Grill’s private Cabinet Room and tour of the Woodrow Wilson House. Bus  leaves  museum at 8:15 a.m.; returns   about 5:30. $70/museum members; $90/nonmembers;    includes admissions and lunch. Limited seating;

 reservations   required. Contact Jeremy Vaughn at 540/371-3037, ext. 135, or



Special tour, “Virginia Through Women’s Eyes.” 10:30 a.m.–noon, Tuesday, March 13. The first gift of manuscripts to the Virginia Historical Society included a transcript of proceedings against Grace Sherwood, who was accused of witchcraft in 1706. In honor of Women’s History Month, the society will explore objects, books, letters, portraits  and broadsides associated with 400 years of Virginia women. Behind-the-scenes tour will be led by L. Paige Newman, assistant archivist. Buy tickets online, $10/VHS members; $17, nonmembers.; 804/342-9676 or email 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond.

“American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America.”  Noon, Thursday, March 15. David Stewart will talk about his new book in a Banner Lecture at the Virginia Historical Society, 428 North Boulevard, Richmond. Reservations not required. Admission $6/adults, $5/seniors, $4/children and students, free/members (please present card) and to Richmond Times–Dispatch readers with  Press Pass coupons. Parking free.; 804/358.4901.

“From the Earth: The Environment in Virginia’s Past and Future.”  9 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday, March 16. Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Environmental Endowment present a daylong conference on the historic relationship between the state’s environment and its people. Speakers include Stephen Ausband, Benjamin Cohen, Sara Gregg, Roy Sawyer, Helen Rountree, the Hon. Gerald Baliles, Ann Jennings, Gerald McCarthy and the Hon. W. Tayloe Murphy Jr. Free, public welcome, but make reservations now.

“Before It Was Virginia: Setting the Stage.” Noon Friday, March 16. Helen Rountree, author, historian and expert on Virginia’s native people. A Banner Lecture, Virginia Historical Society.

“Fighting for America: The Struggle for Mastery in North America, 1519–1871.” Noon, Wednesday, March 28. British historian–author Jeremy Black. Last of March’s Banner Lectures at the Virginia Historical Society.

Adam Goodheart, author of “1861: The Civil War Awakening.”  7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 11. Stacy C. Sherwood Center, Fairfax. Co-sponsored by Historic Fairfax City Inc. and City of Fairfax Sesquicentennial Committee. 3740 Old Lee Highway.

Clash of the Ironclads.  4 p.m.,  Saturday, April 14. Historic Blenheim Interpretive Center. John V. Quarstein, author and Civil War maritime historian, will discuss the  significance  of the  March 1862 battle at Hampton Roads and its   influence on the Peninsula Campaign. Book-signing follows. Sponsored by  Fairfax Sesquicentennial Committee.; 703/591-0560.

Please enter information at; select “History” category. You may also email (subject: History Calendar), or fax to 540/373-8455. Deadline: Noon Thursday preceding  the section’s Tuesday publication. Questions: 540/368-5029.