Fort Wright closes James A. Ramage Civil War Museum at Battery Hooper
The city of Fort Wright has closed its Civil War Museum.
The closure is permanent if Mayor David Hatter has his way.
Battery Hooper Park, where the museum is located remains open, Hatter said.
The city is looking into the museum’s operations and is in the early stages of exploring potential park improvements, the mayor said.
An Aug. 25 executive order from Hatter closed the museum that day, and ordered all keys be turned over to the city.
Hatter’s order closing the museum listed multiple reasons including improper handling and accounting of cash donations made to the museum, parking infractions during the recent Battery Hooper Days, and a communication breakdown between the city staff and city’s museum board.
Bernie O’Bryan, volunteer board president for the city’s James A. Ramage Civil War Museum, is among the locked-out keyholders. He was appointed by the city to help run the museum and has been a volunteer since it opened in 2005.
The museum, named for a retired Northern Kentucky University history professor who has written books on Civil War history, was opened in 2005.
O’Bryan said the museum has operated at a profit in recent years, which Hatter disputes. He said he wants the city officials to change their minds and find a way to reopen the museum.
“I’m not here to fight the city,” O’Bryan said.
The mayor said Behringer-Crawford Museum has been engaged to evaluate some of the museum’s artifacts. The Behringer-Crawford, or someone else, could still potentially host Civil War reenactments or other events about history.
Hatter said the city intends to preserve the battery itself, which was part of a ring of fortifications built across Northern Kentucky in the Civil War as part of the defense of Cincinnati.
The Smithsonian Magazine noted in an article that Cincinnati’s Black Brigade was among those to help build the fortification. The annual Battery Hooper Days organized by volunteers creates a living history museum on the 14-acre property at 1402 Highland Ave.
“The museum itself, as far as I am concerned, isn’t coming back,” Hatter said.