Terry Thomann, director of the Civil War Life museum, said yesterday that he plans to close the attraction in the Southpoint I center [Spotsylvania] and in two weeks open a store at 829 Caroline St., in Fredericksburg to sell Civil War-related books, souvenirs, T-shirts and gifts.Let me break the tale down by excerpts:
The Civil War Life Museum's move comes almost two years after Thomann created a nonprofit foundation in hopes of raising $12 million for a new museum at the W.J. Vakos Courthouse Village development. Thomann said the foundation will continue to raise money for the museum in the city.The plot thickens:
Supervisor Hap Connors was surprised that Thomann had already made a decision. He said the county for eight years paid the rent for Thomann's museum at the Visitors Center, including $61,995 this fiscal year. "We've invested close to $600,000 in his museum with free rent and we're on track to work with him and the Vakos company to build a museum at Courthouse [Village]," Connors said. "The next thing I know he bails out."They say the key to starting a successful business is OPM. They say, setbacks do not deter the entrepreneur:
The first phase of his city plan is opening a store there [in town]. The second phase will be finding a location for a full-scale museum that will include exhibits, a Civil War Life 3-D theater and a working tintype studio with wet-plate photographs.They say you need an "elevator story" for investors.
The third phase will be a research center.
Thomann said he will establish a Capital Committee to provide funding for the project, which recently received a $150,000 planning grant from the federal government.
This story has just two words: "heritage tourism."