A Historic Tourist Destination
The Casemate Museum has also been a major attraction, bringing people from around the globe to learn about Fort Monroe’s role in American history. 2014 marked the start of a new era in the Casemate’s history when FMA officially took control of the Casemate Museum. In addition, the United States Army’s Center of Military History gifted the museum some 844 artifacts. This is one of the largest artifacts transfers by the U.S. Army in more than 150 years. The acquisition of these artifacts was made possible as a result of an operational and ownership change, which we expect will continue to grow the collection and make the museum even more attractive for visitors and enthusiasts. Casemate Museum staff are working with individuals and other museums to bring new items to Fort Monroe.
The museum also introduced new program opportunities. The staff collaborated with the National Park Service, the City of Hampton, Project 1619, and the Contraband Historical Society to develop a full day of interpretive programming to commemorate Contraband Day on May 24, 2014. Plans are for this to become an annual event.
Statistics show visitation to the Casemate is on the rise, up about 12 percent year over year for 2014 compared to 2013. This is the result of increased tour offerings. School children and social and professional groups have made up the majority of the guided tours. For example, during the past year every senior from Hampton City Schools visited the museum for a guided tour. The museum’s dedicated volunteers make these types of tour offerings possible. Volunteers logged nearly 2,000 hours during 2014.
We are looking forward to an exciting year in 2015, with more planned exhibits, tours, and programs designed to engage the public in this treasure-within-a-treasure here at Fort Monroe.