Friday, August 8, 2008


We're well on our way to having the new, permanent Civil War exhibit installed. The cabinets are in place with fresh paint, and lighting will be installed in the next two weeks.

The exhibit will focus doubly on the military occupation of Suffolk. This won't just be the perspective of the Union soldiers stationed here, but also of the citizens of Suffolk who lived under military rule.

The citizens who stayed behind signed a document called the "Parole of Honor." This was essentially an agreement between the occupiers and the occupied that the former would not interfere in the affairs of the latter, so long as the latter made no attempt to overthrow the former.

Those citizens left behind were mostly women, children, and the elderly, all unable to serve in either army. We recently acquired an 1863 article from a Charleston, South Carolina newspaper talking about Suffolk, specifically mentioning the Riddicks. Newspaper articles such as this pair well with photographs of soldiers generously donated to us to provide an interesting counterpoint to the 100+ pieces of military hardware that otherwise dominate the exhibit.

In the meantime, we say goodbye to the peanut. For years, Riddick's Folly has been the home of Suffolk's only exhibit on peanuts. Given Suffolk's history with the legumes, an exhibit is certainly warranted, just not here.

On September 1st, the peanut exhibit will come down for good at Riddick's Folly as we focus on our mission to portray 19th century life through the lens of the Riddick family. Peanuts in Suffolk didn't become a phenomenon until the 20th century, and even then, that had little to do with the Riddicks and their descendants. If you'd like to see the Peanut exhibit, be sure to stop by while it's still around. In September, the items will go to their original owners where possible, and otherwise to the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society.

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