150th Civil War Anniversary to Boost Tourism in Virginia
For the next four years, the United States is marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Much of that dark time in our country's history is tied to Virginia and it could lead to a big economic boost for the commonwealth.
In fact, more Civil War battles were fought in Virginia than in any other state. The commonwealth already benefits from Civil War history buffs.
Folks say they hope to see an even bigger spike over the next four years. At the Museum of the Confederacy (MOC) in Richmond, the crowds keep coming.
"Virginia is for lack of a better term ground zero for the study of the Civil War," said Sam Craghead with the MOC.
The museum has seen a 30 percent uptick in visitors so far this year as Virginia and the nation look back on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Tourists from all over are coming to Virginia to learn about the war.
Richard Lewis with the Virginia Tourism Corporation stated, "There were more battles fought here than in any other state by far, and it follows that there are more Civil War history sites for people to enjoy."
The 4-year-long celebration will mark key battles in Virginia at Manassas, Fredericksburg and Appomattox.
"Big battles that are the subject of reenactments are going to be taking place all of the years of the sesquicentennial," said Craghead.
Virginia is hoping to capitalize on the anniversary with a big boost to the economy. Civil War tourists stay in Virginia longer and spend more money here than the average visitor.
"It's a lucrative market," Lewis said.
State tourism experts say the Civil War anniversary could provide a boost to all historical sites.
Lewis stated, "There's nothing at all that would stop you from coming to, say, Charlottesville to see the presidential homes, to see the lawn at UVA. We know people do this."
No matter why visitors come, historians are just glad to see tourists eager to learn about the past.
"People are really becoming more interested in their history," Craghead said.
For the next four years, the state is hoping to capitalize on the 150th anniversary of America's bloody war.
There is a long list of events planned at Civil War sites across the state over the course of the next three and a half years.
Folks in Richmond also expect to see a bump in tourism once Steven Spielberg starts filming the movie "Lincoln" in the area. They say filming at the State Capitol will start in October.
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