The Lost Cause: Myths, Monuments, & Murals

Daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Military Memorial Mural Gallery

This exhibition explores the history of the Lost Cause as expressed through a cycle of military murals and a sculpture of Robert E. Lee previously on view at the U.S. Capitol. 

Admission: Included with Museum Daily Admission

Square feet: 1,547

Number of artifacts: 4 murals, 1 sculpture

About the Exhibition: The Lost Cause was a widespread effort by former Confederates after the American Civil War (1861–1865) to justify and glorify the Confederacy. The Lost Cause manifested in different ways over many generations—from history textbooks to street names to various forms of memorialization. As with most of their counterparts, the monument and murals displayed in this gallery, as well as the gallery itself, tell us more about the intentions and values of the people who created them than about the historical subjects they depict.

About the Artifacts:

  • Commissioned by the Confederate Memorial Association and executed by Charles Hoffbauer, the Confederate Memorial Military Murals were unveiled at the Confederate Memorial Institute in 1921. The Virginia Historical Society acquired them when it acquired the CMA in 1946 as its new home. The murals have remained on exhibit in the south wing of the former CMI building until the present time.
  • The Edward Valentine sculpture of Lee stood as one of Virginia’s entries in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol from 1909 until 2020, when it was given to the VMHC by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
A mural of Confederate soliders on horseback in an autumn landscape of hillside and trees
Autumn - Gen. J. E. B. Stuart Leading His Cavalry In A Charge

From "Four Seasons of the Confederacy," Charles Hoffbauer (1875-1957), 1913-1920. The murals equate the passage of time with the change of seasons and depict scenes from the beginning of the Civil War to its end. Hoffbauer was commissioned to do this work by the Confederate Memorial Association for its Battle Abbey. From the VMHC Collection, 2005.340.A-H.