“In no single area of the war was the overwhelming advantage possessed by the Federal government so ruinous to Southern hopes,” the historian Bruce Catton wrote of Civil War sea power. You can learn why at the National Civil War Naval Museum, in Columbus, Georgia, which opens on March 9, the 139th anniversary of the pivotal standoff between the ironclads Monitor and Merrimack at Hampton Roads. Visitors to the 40,000-square-foot museum can see a replica of the ironclad CSS Albemarle ; stand above the bow of the actual CSS Jackson , recovered from the Chattahoochee River; or clamber onto a replica of the USS Hartford , the flagship of Adm. David Farragut’s fleet during the capture of New Orleans.
Some musical instruments lead a double life, like the violin, which sheds its formal attire to become a fiddle. The banjo, though, is nothing but country, which makes it right at home in the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum (540-365-4416;