Virginia Quilt museum unveils signage marking Civil War history

Published: Jul. 4, 2023 at 3:07 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - After being damaged by a car nearly two years ago, an updated Civil War history marker now stands outside the Virginia Quilt Museum on Harrisonburg’s Main street.

The museum’s executive director Alicia Thomas says the museum opened in 1995, but the structure was built in 1856 by Confederate army Col. Edward T.H. Warren, who died in the Battle of the Wilderness. The building was also eventually used as an overflow hospital following the Battle of Gettysburg.

“The Confederacy retreated basically down 81 right through the Valley here so there were wounded everywhere. And some of them were brought here and it was used as a hospital. The one death we know of happened almost a month after the battle of Gettysburg in August of 1863,” Thomas said.

Thomas says the updated signage was made possible by Civil War Trails, a nonprofit that spans across North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Virginia.

There are other Civil War Trails markers that can be found throughout downtown Harrisonburg and the rest of the Shenandoah Valley, so Thomas says it also is a great way to take visitors on a journey through history.

“They have maps and brochures that you can pick up and do like a whole driving tour of the area so it just helps bring more people in and even if they maybe don’t come in and visit the whole museum they still know we’re here,” Thomas said.

The Virginia Quilt Museum will be showcasing an exhibit of Civil War-era quilts this fall, alongside contemporary pieces made by a quilter who will include historical photos of civilians in the war as part of her work.