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Museum to host events
Guided public tours, celebrity golf tournament, Civil War re- enactment in the works for the U.S. National Slavery Museum.

Date published: 1/30/2006

By PAMELA GOULD

The U.S. National Slavery Museum is planning a celebrity golf event for June and an August weekend featuring fireworks and a Civil War re-enactment on its 38-acre site.

Museum spokesman Michael J. Smith said details are still being worked out for both events and that more information should be announced in late February or early March for what he called a "Pro-Am"-style golf outing. He said two Fredericksburg-area locations have expressed interest in hosting the event, which will be open to anyone willing to pay the greens fees.

The battle re-enactment and fireworks are planned for an August weekend as community outreach for families, Smith said. All the activities will be free of charge.

Guided public tours of the museum site and virtual tours of both the museum design and exhibit designs are slated to begin sometime in March, he said.

Smith said that many donors are interested in seeing where the 250,000-square-foot structure designed by Chien Chung Pei of Pei Partnership Architects of New York is to be built.

Smith said the museum will be interactive and include "Disney-esque" elements.

The museum anticipates 450,000 visitors annually in its first years of operation and 1 million "as it develops in recognition nationally," according to Al Wolf of Plaza Construction, program manager for the museum.

The museum site overlooks the Rappahannock River and is adjacent to Interstate 95's southbound lanes in Fredericksburg. The parcel was donated by the Silver Cos. and is part of the Fredericksburg-based company's Celebrate Virginia tourism and retail development.

Alisa Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Tourism Corp., said she toured the Celebrate Virginia project site last month to get an update.

She said she was pleased with all of the elements it includes, such as hotels, a conference center, shops, restaurants and features that incorporate and preserve the river.

With the museum included, she said, the development makes Fredericksburg a "destination" for travelers.

"I was extremely impressed with the vision for the slavery museum, and we're very, very excited to draw some attention to it so funds can be raised so we can bring it to fruition," she said.

Though the Virginia Tourism Corp. does not help with fundraising, Bailey said she's interested in helping to publicize the museum, which should aid in that effort.


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