Local museum hosts CMT film crew

Local museum hosts CMT film crew
Civil War reenactor Leah Oxendine tickles the ivories on a Civil War-era organ at the Museum of Southern History.

A local, somewhat unknown museum was the setting for portions of a CMT (Country Music Television) documentary on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, which has its roots in Riverside.

The G. Howard Bryan Museum of Southern History, located at 4304 Herschel St., was host to a crew March 17, who were on site to film a guided tour of the museum.

The documentary film about the music and legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd will focus on the life and times of Ronnie Van Zant and the early days of the band.

According to CMT’s website, the film is a story of “front man Ronnie Van Zant, his upbringing, his roots, his work ethic and his contradictory persona as both as a mythic Southern Rock poet and notorious boozed-up brawler.”

As most locals know, the band’s name was a mock tribute to a Robert E. Lee High School teacher, Leonard Skinner, who allegedly disapproved of long hair on male students.

The tour of the museum provided the CMT film crew insight regarding the depth of feelings many Floridians have about the unique lifestyle and culture of the Antebellum South – often misunderstood and misrepresented, according to the museum’s website – in the events leading up to the Civil War.

The Museum of Southern History was established in 1975 by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Kirby Smith Camp 1209. The current location was opened in 1994 and includes a library of over 6,000 volumes written during and relating to the War Between the States era, as well as exhibits of portraits, flags, uniforms and firearms from the 19th century.

One of the flags in the collection is purported to be one of three which draped President Abraham Lincoln’s casket when it was on display in Independence Hall.

Each month the museum offers a program or guest speaker. On May 2, Leah Oxendine, a 21-year-old author and Civil War reenactor from Ocala, discussed her novel, “The Rebels of Florida,” which she began writing at the age of 11. Oxendine plays nine instruments, including the dulcimer, an instrument of the Civil War era.

On June 6, at 7 p.m., the museum has invited Noah Gengler, a member of the Civil War Roundtable of North Florida, to speak about Confederate efforts to invade the west, particularly New Mexico.

The museum is generally open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To arrange for a tour of the museum, contact [email protected].

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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