Into the Woods: VNP Visits the CCC

Exterior of the CCC Museum at Pocahontas State Park

Looking for something fun to do this summer? Well, look no further. Recently, the staff of the Virginia Newspaper Project returned newspapers to the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. The museum generously lent newspapers from its collection for the VNP’s CCC newspaper digitization project. As luck would have it, team VNP picked a beautiful day for a visit.

Museum Brochure Cover

Located near the Education Center, nestled in the woods and housed in a small cabin built with materials from homes that once stood on the land, the museum shows how CCC members lived and the public projects on which they worked. For example, in one corner of the exhibition area, a visitor can see a standard issue cot among other memorabilia. Also on display are common tools workers used, uniforms enrollees wore and historic photos, letters, architectural drawings, ephemera and other documents related to the CCC. The Museum even has a bird egg collection, with eggs that date back to the 1880s!

As described in its pamphlet, “Visitors can learn about the dedication and sacrifice in the words and letters of the men whose contributions will last forever.”

In addition to the Museum, the park offers a long list of other fun things to do—and all for just a five to seven-dollar admission fee (depending on the time of year you visit). With 25 miles of off-road trails, Pocahontas State Park has some of the best hiking and mountain biking Virginia has to offer. It also has thirteen miles of bridle trails, picnic areas, an Aquatic Recreation Center (A.K.A. an impressive swimming pool complete with water slides), an Education Center, fishing and boating, camping and even has yurts available for nightly rental—as described on the park’s website, a structure that’s something between a cabin and a tent— for the glamping enthusiast.

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Museum’s interior. Pictured on the top left are VNP director, Errol Somay (left) and VNP Conservator, Silver Persinger (right). Pictured on bottom left, the Museum’s egg collection.

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Newspapers lent to the Virginia Newspaper Project by the CCC Museum.

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Top left: Silver standing by the spill over for Beaver Lake. Top right: Scrapbooks that were issued to CCC members for their personal photo collections. Bottom Left: One of the yurts available at the park. Bottom right: Beaver Lake.

The Project would like to thank Aaron-Paula Thompson, who served as museum archivist during a Museum Studies internship, and Rebecca Whalen, Chief Ranger, for lending us the newspapers, for taking the time to give us the grand tour and for letting us look at all of the wonderful treasures in the museum archive.

To check out the digital CCC newspapers, visit Virginia Chronicle, the Library of Virginia’s digital newspaper database.

And get out to a state park near you this summer!

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