From today’s issue of the Chester, VA Village News:

Historical Park Soon to Close Doors to Public

Dec 3, 2008 – 12:32:55 PM

Effective January 2, 2009, Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Dinwiddie County will be open by reservation only. Guests wishing to visit the Park may do so by making a reservation forty-eight hours in advance. Admission fees for non-members will be $100 for a group of up to ten people, and $10 per adult for groups of more than ten. Park members may make reservations twenty-four hours in advance with no minimum numbers and no admission fee.

The Park will continue to offer all reservation-based programming as usual, including its popular school field trips, battlefield tours, Annual Symposium, Civil War Adventure Camps, Summer Teacher Institutes, and History Day Camps.

“The severe economic downturn has undercut the ability of the Pamplin Foundation to support the Park at current levels,” says Pamplin Historical Park President, A. Wilson Greene. “We deeply regret the necessity to curtail normal daily operations to meet this new fiscal reality.”

None of the Park’s four museums will be altered and the Park will continue to maintain its four historic structures, ten reconstructed buildings, and three miles of interpretive trails. There will be no changes to the Park’s extensive artifact collection. “Should economic conditions improve, we hope to restore some regular public operating hours next spring,” adds Greene.

The Park will continue to accelerate its use of the internet to fulfill its educational mission through on-line programming. Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier preserves 422 acres near Petersburg, Virginia, including the Breakthrough Battlefield, a National Historic Landmark. It is owned and operated by the Pamplin Foundation of Portland, Oregon. The Park opened in 1994 as Pamplin Park Civil War Site and debuted the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in 1999, when it adopted its current name.

Pamplin Park, which is funded by the Pamplin Family Foundation (the Pamplins are the majority shareholders of the company that owns and operates Boise Pacific), has, for more than a decade, been the model of an upscale Civil War battlefield with a state-of-the-art museum and an excellent bookstore. The park features the spot where Union troops broke Robert E. Lee’s lines at Petersburg on April 2, 1865, meaning it includes some critical ground. It always made its neighbor, the Petersburg National Battlefield, look like its poor red-headed stepchild little brother.

Now, even Pamplin Park is suffering as a consequence of the economy, which is tragic. The Petersburg Campaign, which gets little enough attention from historians and the public, will get even less attention now that Pamplin Park will no longer be available to the public on a regular basis. And that’s a tragedy.

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  1. Wed 03rd Dec 2008 at 8:46 pm

    I see that eventually becoming Park Service Property much like the Rosensteel Museum in Gettysburg did…

    But yes, what a great place.

  2. Thu 04th Dec 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Interesting take on the situation, especially since Executive Director A. Wilson Greene at one time worked for NPS (if I’m not mistaken). That would certainly be a strange turn of events for him.

  3. Sun 07th Dec 2008 at 8:20 am

    It was my understanding that Pamplin Park has been struggling since the day it opened — sad to say. Petersburg, as you mention, despite its importance, is somehow eclipsed, and off the beaten track.

  4. Tue 16th Dec 2008 at 10:26 pm

    This is quite a blow! As a member of Pamplin this is the first I have heard of the cutbacks. All I can say is those who haven’t visited the park do not know what they are missing. The experience is the best thing going when it comes to using all the technology to explain the war and to show what it was like for the soldiers and civilians. I have visited the place many times and always look forward to the experience. In fact my first visit was shortly after they opened when I took my father and then 5-year-old son. I couldn’t get either of them to leave after 3 hours!

  5. Wed 31st Dec 2008 at 9:24 am

    My Brother-In-Law lives a couple of blocks from Grant’s Headquarters at City Point in Petersburg, and I go to Petersburg Often. This past Summer and Fall, my Wife and I have made a project of Visiting Several Battlefields around Petersburg and Richmond. Both Cities are afflicted with the same issues of City Government populated by large numbers of Blacks, who do not see the need or requirement of using their Civil War History to Attract Visitors.

    Our Trips to: Malvern Hill, Glendale (Frazier’s Farm), Charles City Road, White’s Tavern, Darbytown Road, Newmarket Heights, Fort Harrison, Cold Harbor, Gaines Mill, Beaverdam Creek, Savages Station, Haw’s Shop, Nelson’s Crossing, Hanover Court House, Ashland, City Point, Cogging’s Point, Petersburg NPS Battlefield, Old Town Petersburg – Visitors Ctr, Jerusalem Plank Rd, Globe Tavern, Fort’s Fisher & Conahey, Church Road, Squirrell Level Rd, Weldon RR, Vaughn Rd, Boydton Plank Rd, White Oak Rd, Five Forks, Dinwiddie Courthouse, Chamberlyn’s Run, Hatcher’s Mill, Ream’s Station, Stony Creek, Sappony Church, and Five Forks resulted in having to Stop for Awhile, while I showed my Wife Maps and Explained the Events that Happened in these Areas. She couldn’t believe that so many men fought in these areas, so many died, and so many men who were wounded, and there was an absence of visitors or hardly any indication that a Historic Event happened at the location.

    My Hat’s Off to Pamplin Park – They are a Real Jewel in an area that Local and State Government has too many other Issues on their Menu to provide the Resources to Interpret the “Fields of Conflict”. No wonder so many of these “Fields of Conflict” are disappearing to the developer and promoters of other ventures. The Museum of the Confederacy now fighting for it’s survival as developement all around it by the Medical College of Virginia has almost swallowed the location. Pamplin Park now joins the Museum of the Confederacy in a Fight for Survival, while City Fathers from Petersburg and Richmond could care less if the Survival Happens.

    The Largest Battlefields have a Very Low Visitor Attendance. Malvern Hill is a location that I have been to dozens of times in the past few years, and I am lucky to see a Half Dozen Visitors in the Hour that I walk the Fields. Occasionaly a Tour Comes Through, and Virginia has been making efforts to locate “Interpertative Signage” at Points of Events and Actions that Occurred, however some areas like the Battle of Williamsburg, Squeezed out by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has Hundreds of Thousands of Visitors in the Area, but Very Few on the Fields of Battle. My Friend from the NPS at Yorktown, I was in the Military with ,will Conduct an Hour Tour with Visitors on the Yorktown Battlefield, and the “Civil War Siege of Yorktown” may come out, Only if a Visitor Asks About It.

    I am Interested in the Pamplin Park, as on their property, I believe the Battle of Jones Farm occurred Sept. 30th and Harmon Road Oct 2nd of 1864. The Tar Heel Cavalry Brigade of Rufus Barringer were involved with both, and the Camp for the Tar Heel Cavalry Regiments for Awhile were in the Fields along the Harman Road / Boydton Plank Road Entrenchements. My plans were to visit this Spring, and I hope they will still be around for the opportunity.

    The Virginia Sesquecentennial is due to Kick Off in 2009, and Perhaps some Planning may Benefit the Regions Many Battlefields Visitation. I have reservations as too many in the Local, Cities and State Governments have Other Agendas than the Civil War.

  6. Member Services
    Fri 17th Jul 2009 at 10:30 am

    Pamplin Historical Park is now open seven days a week through the summer.

    Admission Fees:
    Adults $10
    Children 6-12 $5
    5 and under are free

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