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116th Infantry Regiment Foundation

Mission: The 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation’s (IRF) vision is for everyone to know and understand the history, heritage, and legacy of America’s Citizen Soldiers. The mission is to provide museums and archives for exhibits and artifacts of historic significance from the 116th Infantry Regiment and area Citizen Soldiers, conducts education programs for students and adults, and support an annual Muster for members of the regiment and guests.

Community Need: The IRF wants to reach as many people as they can with their Citizen Soldier story of history, heritage, and legacy. One group which can be reached through the museum are local, regional and interstate tourists. The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) reports that visiting historic sites and touring museums rank third and seventh in the top 20 reasons individuals give for traveling to and in the Commonwealth. The 116th IRF’s immediate reach of Augusta, Rockingham, Highland, Rockbridge Counties, and their respective independent cities includes over 280,000 individuals as well as travelers from North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Ohio, and New Jersey. One priority is to enhance their exhibits and museum space in order to reach a larger audience and to increase awareness of Virginia’s 116th Regiment and the Citizen Soldiers’ contribution to communities, the nation, and the world. They want visitors, students, and educators to move beyond the one-dimensional photographs in text in order to develop a physical connection to community history. The IRF will continue to serve as an active participant in the Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission and develop collaborations with other local historic venues.

Constituents Served: Located in Verona, the Stonewall Brigade Museum is a regional as well as national American history resource. The museum is open to the general public with no admission fee, and the archive is available for the regiment members and by appointment for researchers.  The digitation of the documents and photographs will increase access to the collection with the creation of an e-library.  The approximate age breakdown of their clients is as follows: children (15%); 18 to 24 years (20%); adults 25 to 61 (50%); and seniors ages 62 and older (15%).

Primary Activities: The 116th IRF realizes its mission with three programs: the museum, education and outreach, and veteran support.  They:

  • Provide a free admission museum that collects, preserves and interprets objects and records of historic significance from the 116th Infantry Regiment and the greater Shenandoah Valley.
  • Conduct education programs by hosting and leading history tours to battlefields and historic sites in Normandy, France and will add the Shenandoah Valley in 2019.
  • Present and exhibit at state sponsored teacher workshops each year. The IRF plans to host one local workshop per year. These highlight the teacher resources in the area and how this area’s history can be used to fulfill nearly all of VA SOLs in social studies. The IRF also travels to or hosts community groups to tell the selfless service thru the history of Citizen Soldiers.
  • Support an annual reunion conference and banquet for veterans, current members of the regiment, families and descendants, and their guests.

Amount Requested: $2,000

Operating Budget: $329,265

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