Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010 at the James A Ramage Civil War Museum

For this post, I will unashamedly discuss the plans for the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum in 2010, a year in which I have the privilege and honor of serving as the President of the Board of Directors for the museum. It is a challenge I look forward too, as the museum celebrates its 5th anniversary this year.

We closed down for 2009 after our wonderfully successful Civil War Christmas event, during which we drew a record 286 visitors to our one day event. It went tremendously well, even better than we expected and it was nice to close the year on a high note.

Before we reopen, we are busy coming up with new ideas and displays for the museum, including some re-painting of wall and overall cleaning. Our ideas include using a new type of wallpaper-like material to give one of our larger displays a new appearance, and the addition of more display cases so that we can put more items on display, and perhaps have them arranged even better than now.

We officially reopen on Friday February 12, which happens to be the 201st birthday of Abraham Lincoln. We will celebrate this day with a Happy Birthday President Lincoln event on Sunday the 14th (yes, on Valentine's Day.)  Plans, like for all our events, are still being arranged, but we hope to have an entertaining event for children and adults.

In March, the museum will be represented with a table at Northern Kentucky History Day at Northern Kentucky University. (This link is to last year's event, giving an idea of how this neat event is set up.) This years event is on March 20.

On April 10,  as the many trees around the 17 acres of Battery Hooper Park, home of the Ramage Museum, start to bloom, birds start to sing and the greenness of the grass becomes more beautiful, we will take part in Park Day, sponsored by the Civil War Preservation Trust, as volunteers from the museum and community will help plant flowers, pull weeds and take part in other clean-up activities the museum grounds need.

May features our next event, the Public Archaeology Dig and Civil War Authors Event on the 15th and 16th. The Public Dig is a wonderful opportunity for local citizens (age 10 and up) to dig at an actual Civil War site, the location of Battery Hooper, which was built in 1861. I first became involved with the museum when I read about this event in a local newspaper and showed up for it.  It is an eye-opening experience. Watch the museum website, linked above for more details such as when people can start signing up for it (pre-registration is required, but is free, and we provide all the equipment.)

The Authors event will feature talks and displays from local authors and/or authors of books about local Civil War events and history.

In June, we will host no events, but will be represented in Fort Mitchell celebrates its centennial June 24th through the 27th. Organizers are hopeful that descendants of Civil War (Union) General Ormsby B. Mitchel (for whom the city is named) will be able to make it to town for this event.

July will be a quiet month, as we gear up for a busy last few months of the year.

August 21 and 22 will witness our biggest, most popular annual event, Battery Hooper Days. Join us as we host a Civil War encampment, featuring dozens of local re-enactors, a cannon firing, live music, children's activities such as a petting zoo and other living history displays and presenters. We're always looking for new ideas to make it bigger and better, so who knows what else we will come up with this year? It is a fun, family-friendly event, and is totally free. (Though our neighbors at the nearby church will likely have an ice cream social going on too, with lots of delicious food for those who get hungry.)

Our second and final Public Archaeology Dig will take place September 11 and 12. Once again, advance registration will be required. What is neat about this fall dig is that it takes places near the anniversary of the "Siege of Cincinnati" when Confederate forces under Henry Heth approached Cincinnati, just a few minutes away from where Battery Hooper is located.

In October, we have our Antiques Appraisal event. Details will be worked out, but  it will likely be $5 to have 2 appraisals, of items smaller than a child's wagon. Watch the website for exact details as the date approaches, but it is neat to have an item appraised or just to see what cool items other people bring.

November 7 will see us head to Highland Cemetery in Fort Mitchell for our annual salute to veterans in honor of Veteran's Day. Plans for this year call for us to focus on Korean War veterans, while honoring all who have served this great country. The neat thing about having this event at Highland Cemetery is that this cemetery is the burial ground for veterans from every major American war, from the Revolution through the conflict in Iraq, including some Buffalo soldiers, African-American cavalrymen in the late 19th century.

Finally, we will close out 2010 with our Civil War Christmas event on December 12, with the museum decorated in period decorations, providing insight into how many of our current traditions were just getting started during the mid-1800s. A jolly elf from the North Pole will pay a visit and children will be able to make ornaments out of period material, such as hardtack. It's a great way to celebrate the holiday season for our museum to end its year.

I'm hopeful that 2010 can be at least as successful as 2009, a year in which we had record attendance at several events. With some hard work by the museum board, it's volunteers (all staffing is volunteer, there are no paid employees) and some help from Mother Nature, I'm confident that our 5th Anniversary year will be very memorable and enjoyable.

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