Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park opened the park’s first Visitor Contact Station with newly developed interpretive exhibits on Saturday, April 13. Great pride and excitement are felt by all park staff with the opening of this new space, which is the first NPS operated visitor facility for the park. As a partnership park, all five land-owning partners were involved in the development of the interpretive media and the unified message that would be shared at the site. Chief of Interpretation, Eric Campbell, lead the project through planning, development and finally installation. His hard work and perseverance is reflected in the impressive exhibits that showcase the park.
The new exhibits and displays cover a wide variety of subjects and stories, including the Shenandoah Valley’s geological formation, early settlement, the Valley’s agriculture economy, the Civil War’s impact on the region and the Battle of Cedar Creek, along with orientation and information about the park and the significant resources and facilities owned and managed by the Key Partners. One of the highlights of the exhibits is a large scale, three-dimensional fiber optic map of the Cedar Creek battlefield. Fiber optic lights move along with an audio narrative to help describe the October 1864 battle.
The park is currently planning a dedication ceremony in May to celebrate the new facility. Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf was instrumental in the establishment of the park and will be the keynote speaker for the dedication.