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Slavery, Confederacy: A "Happy Family"?

Lambert says his proposal is just "an idea" that he plans to discuss with Mayor L. Douglas Wilder in the coming weeks. Wilder is founder and chairman of the U.S. National Slavery Museum's board of directors, which plans to build a 250,000-square-foot museum on 38 acres in Fredericksburg, but has yet to begin construction.

There is considerable state-owned property behind the Science Museum, which sits between West Broad and Leigh streets, a few blocks from the Boulevard. Lambert says there is plenty of vacant land behind the museum to locate both facilities.

Lambert says officials at the Museum of the Confederacy were receptive. "They asked me to talk to Wilder. They thought it was a good idea," Lambert says. "It just makes a lot of sense."

The Museum of the Confederacy has made no secret of its intention to move the White House of the Confederacy, former home of Jefferson Davis, as Virginia Commonwealth University continues to expand around it. VCU is constructing a 16-story critical-care building next to the museum, and museum officials say it has become increasingly difficult for its visitors to find, frequent and park at the White House.

A subcommittee at the state legislature is studying the cost of moving the White House, and how a move would affect its historical significance. The report's due Nov. 30.

As for the National Slavery Museum, Wilder has repeatedly said the museum would stay in Fredericksburg, despite persistent rumors that he's considering moving it to Richmond. Most recently, there was speculation that Wilder might consider moving the slavery museum to East Broad Street, in the former Thalhimers block, site of the planned performing arts center. In a recent interview, Wilder said, "The slavery museum is going to stay where it is." — Scott Bass

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