Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads, VA is a place with a storied history that dates back to the beginning of America. It was on these grounds that the first enslaved African-Americans came to the English colonies in 1619. This site was also known as “Freedom’s Fortress” during the Civil War, as thousands of contraband slaves who made it to its walls were given their freedom by Union Gen. Benjamin Butler. 155 years ago this month, it served as the prison for the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. The fort continued to be used by the military for another 140 years before being decommissioned in 2011. Today, the fort’s lovely grounds and buildings are open to visitors, including the Casemate Museum where Davis’ jail cell was located. It makes for a fun day trip, even in the midst of the pandemic closures. Read my new review today!
155 years ago, the United States was in turmoil. President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated, his killer, John Wilkes Booth, was on the run, and some Confederate forces had not yet surrendered. While Gen. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox effectively ended the Civil War, there were still soldiers in North Carolina and in states and territories out west that didn’t lay down their arms until weeks or even months after Appomattox. Not only was North Carolina a pivotal place in these last few weeks of the war, it also served as the birthplace of the 17th President, Andrew Johnson, who was negotiating the peace. Read my new review today about the historic sites around Raleigh/Durham where you can learn more about President Johnson and the largest surrender of soldiers during the Civil War.
Living in Central Virginia, Civil War history is all around us. With much of the war taking place in the area, there are many battlefields, historic homes, and museums with their own history from the war. This week marks the 155th anniversary of the end of the war - from the fall of Richmond on April 3rd to the last battle at Sailor’s Creek on April 6th to Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9th. Check out my new post about that week’s events and some spots to visit, both virtually and in person, to learn more about this important time period in our nation’s history.
Read my March update on my Year of Historical Reading!
Virginia is the birthplace of our nation, and its state library, the Library of Virginia, was created in 1823 as a repository for all of its original documents and manuscripts, dating back to Jamestown’s founding in 1607. Its online resources are vast, and with the current health crisis keeping our kids from attending school, this is the perfect time to explore the documents, artifacts, and manuscripts available. There is even a way for your kids to potentially get their volunteer hours through the Library’s Making History: Transcribe program. Read my new review today about visiting the Library, both in person and virtually!
If you are visiting Washington, DC, you will likely spend time in several of the Smithsonian museums, most centered around the National Mall. One of the most interesting museums is the National Museum of American History. This museum contains many priceless and meaningful artifacts from America’s past, and you can spend hours in its galleries. March is Women’s History Month, and with the museum’s new exhibit on the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, this is the perfect month to visit. Read my new review today!
February is Black History Month so it is a perfect time to plan a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. This new museum, located on the National Mall, is an important must-see museum on any trip to DC. While the historical story it tells is one of pain and loss, it is also a hopeful celebration of courage and perseverance. Every American should plan a visit to see this amazing museum. Read my new review today to plan your trip!
Winter is the perfect time to visit a state’s history museum for some educational and indoor fun! Most of these museums are located in the state’s capital and are low-cost or even free. In today's review, I encourage you to visit the North Carolina Museum of History, a good addition to any trip to the state capital of Raleigh. Read my new review today!
The Historic Triangle in Virginia is one of the most important places in American history. I have already reviewed two of the three sites in the Triangle (Yorktown and Jamestown) and today I am reviewing the last site in the triangle, Colonial Williamsburg. There is enough to see and do in Colonial Williamsburg to justify spending several days there. It is a great place to bring the whole family to learn about life in America during colonial times. From seeing a fife and drum marching band to playing colonial games, your kids will have a fun time in the place “where history never gets old!”
As 2019 draws to a close, we are ending the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the first legislative representative assembly in the New World. This legislative body, Virginia’s General Assembly, began in 1619 in Jamestown and now meets at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond. The Capitol is a wonderful place to take your kids to learn about history, government, and the very beginnings of our country. Read my new review today to help you plan your visit!