Battlefields Foundation announces grants

From new interpretive exhibits to wayside signage, trails, and brochures, the Valley’s Civil War story will become increasingly available to the general public as a result of this year’s round of grants awarded by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s Implementation Grants Program. Grants to support strong management projects at other sites will ensure that the story will be available to future generations as well.

This week the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation announced that it has awarded $46,490 to partner organizations throughout the eight-county Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. The grants are part of the Battlefields Foundation’s 2009 Implementation Grants Program.

The grants awarded this year will help organizations such as the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, historical societies in Highland and Rockingham counties and Winchester-Frederick County, and other partners throughout the region tell the Valley’s Civil War story. Visitors and Valley residents will be able to explore this story through new and updated offerings such as interpretive exhibits at historic sites and battlefields, a preservation march at Cross Keys and Port Republic, and a brochure in Shenandoah County that will describe work to care for the wounded during the war and send visitors to the sites where that history can be found today. The “Caring for the Wounded” project has also been awarded a grant from the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission.

The Grants program is one way that the Foundation shares federal funding for the National Historic District with its partners. Funding for the Implementation Grants Program comes to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation through its annual congressional appropriation on behalf of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.

Battlefields Foundation Executive Director Denman Zirkle commented, “The Foundation is grateful for the ongoing support of our congressional delegation to secure the funds that make this program possible. Their visionary leadership in protecting and interpreting Virginia’s Civil War battlefields and historic sites is invaluable.”

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said, “The preservation of our nation’s Civil War battlefields has held a special place in my life for many years. There is great value in helping Americans learn from and understand what took place at these locations where so many sacrifices were made. I applaud the work of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation in fostering strong local stewardship of our nationally significant historic sites.”

Foundation Chairman Irvin Hess pointed to the partnership aspect of the Grants Program, saying, “The Battlefields Foundation’s partners play a critical role in accomplishing the goals of the National Historic District. Through these grants, our intention is to enable them be even better stewards of this regional and national resource.”

The Implementation Grants program is intended to assist community-based organizations with projects that they might not otherwise be able to undertake to interpret, preserve, or promote the Shenandoah Valley’s Civil War history and sites. Grants are limited to a maximum of $10,000 each. The Foundation’s grants will pay for up to 80 percent of a project’s cost, with the applicant providing at least 20 percent of the cost. Grants must help implement the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Management Plan, and the District’s Interpretive and Marketing Plans.

Doreen Williams, Foundation Trustee and Grants Committee Chair, said, “We hope that through these grants, the Battlefields Foundation is able to make a significant impact on preserving and interpreting the Valley’s Civil War story.”

In addition, beginning this year, the Foundation is working with the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission to encourage Civil War sites and organizations in the Valley to craft projects that advance the Commonwealth’s effort to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, which is also a goal of the District’s interpretive and marketing plans.

Partners may leverage state grants with the Foundation’s grants. The Commission announced last month that Shenandoah County’s “Caring for the Wounded” project – one of the Foundation’s grant recipients—has also been awarded a state grant.

Grant recipients include:

– Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation (Frederick County):

$1,000 for Signage at Visitor Center and Battlefield

Replacement of the sign at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters, and placement of a new sign about the Battle of Cedar Creek at the Heater House.

– Elkton Parks and Recreation Department (Rockingham County):

$1,000 towards a Civil War Trail and Bridge

Construction of a trail and bridge that will link the Miller-Kite Museum to a reenactment site, expand access to the museum, and enable the museum to host larger events.

– Highland Historical Society (Highland County):

$2,640 to Install Directional Signage for the Highland County Museum and Civil War Orientation Center

Development and installation of new signage at the Highland County Museum, as well as new directional signage to guide visitors to the museum.

– Kernstown Battlefield Association (Winchester & Frederick County):

$8,000 for Pritchard House Historic Structures Report

Completion of a historic structures report to guide the repair, cleaning, restoration and interpretation of the interior of the historic Pritchard House.

– Mount Jackson Museum (Shenandoah County):

$250 for a Battle of Mt. Clifton Highway Marker and Brochure

Support for an effort to raise funds for an interpretive highway marker and brochure to tell the story of the Battle of Mt. Clifton.

– Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (Frederick County):

$6,000 for the Rose Hill Clear View Project

Brush and tree clearing on the Rose Hill Farm on the First Kernstown battlefield, which will enable visitors at the Sandy Ridge interpretive site to see the vantage point as it existed during the battle.

– Old Courthouse Civil War Museum (Winchester & Frederick County):

$3,000 for Interpretation of Gettysburg Officers Graffiti

Development of a permanent interpretive display about the graffiti on the court house walls, telling the story of the imprisoned Union soldiers who carved and wrote their names there.

– Shenandoah County Sesquicentennial Committee and Shenandoah County Tourism (Shenandoah County):

$3,600 for “Caring for the Wounded” Brochure

Development, printing, and distribution of a visitor brochure that will interpret Shenandoah County’s role in caring for the Civil War wounded and send visitors to sites that tell that story.

– Society of Port Republic Preservationists (Rockingham County):

$1,000 to Install an Historic Graveyard Fence

Installation of an historic fence at the Port Republic Riverside Graveyard, which will help preserve the burial site of the Civil War soldiers who are interred there.

– Strasburg Tourism Committee (Shenandoah County):

$3,000 for an Interpretive Plan for Visitors Center

Creation of a comprehensive interpretive and management plan to guide the development of a visitors center in Strasburg, a center that will also serve as the interim Civil War Orientation center for the area.

– 10th Virginia Volunteer Infantry (Rockingham County):

$6,000 for a Cross Keys/Port Republic Preservation March

Support for a 2010 march between the battlefields of Cross Keys and Port Republic that will foster awareness of the importance of these historic sites while raising money for battlefield preservation.

– Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center (Rockingham County):

$5,000 for the Publication of a Reference Book

Publication of volume V of the series of reference books entitled “Unionists and the Civil War Experience in the Shenandoah Valley,” documenting the experiences of civilians in Rockingham County during the war.

– Winchester Frederick County Historical Society (Winchester & Frederick County):

$6,000 for a “They Served With Jackson” Exhibit

Development of an exhibit at Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum that will tell the story of Jackson and his staff officers and interpret the artifacts from officers and soldiers who served under Jackson.


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