First... MOC is not closing, nor is the organization as it is merging or ceasing to exist as it has been....
The facility on Clay St in Richmond was ok for the facility when it opened 40 years ago. Now not so much. Being hemmed in from all sides by the ever expanding MCV-VCU college and medical facility has limited its ability to do much. Its extensive collections have no available expansion ability. Anyone that has done artifact-archive research there and has ever entered the underground storage vaults will know that they critically need more space. What you see in the display galleries is only a very small fragment of the artifacts they have.
Where it sits, people cant find it anymore. Visitation has dropped off significantly in recent years. Its a private enity, for it to remain viable, something different had to be done. No room to expand at its current site. Only option was to expand by relocating some or all of the collection holdings to a better location that people can actually find it. This is not something new and has been explored for many years already. They since have decided to expand the idea to have several different regional facilities. Last year they opened a new satelite MOC museum in Appomattox. That new facility appears to be doing well.
This new venture is to build a new museum facility co-operated along with the Civil War Museum. Which in these economic times has had its own respective survival issues. This new venture is not a demise of MOC, it is an expansion of it. The Civil War Museum (Tredegar) has the space and land available for this new facility, MOC has majority of the historical artifacts. To them it was seen as a viable option for both facilities. Also the intention to expand on Richmonds Civil War history. MOC will continue to exist. This new facility is a joint venture. The others remain as they are.
Richmond City itself has long been resistant to anything Confederate or anything Civil War related for that matter. Years ago I used to give lectures and talks at MOC on a variety of topics including Civil War Richmond. A common comment heard from many lecture attendee's was why there was little to nothing about the Civil War period in Richmond. At that time any effort to expand the story or make use of its history to attract tourists, Richmond City would hear nothing of it. Richmond City Govt even wanted to remove the Confederate statues on Monument Ave. Fortunately the statues and the ground they sit on is State owned, not City of Richmond so they could actually do nothing.
To Richmond City.. MOC has been like a snake in the wood pile... We know your there and dont like it, but cant find anything to do about it, so just ignore you, and not give you anything to work with. Time and efforts have slowly evolved. The Civil War Museum came around placed on private corporate owned property at Tredegar. MOC has been trying to do similar. Available sufficient property for something like this is sparse. It is one of the few viable options they have. If they sat idle where they are it would be only be a matter of time before it completely would financially sink. Of course the news media is slanted and tries to stir up some conflict or drama with just about anything. Interviewing some goofy lawyer that no one local has even ever heard of, or the PC crowd local about town adverse leaning opinion's is of no real substance. Remember MOC is a private enity, not a local, state or federal facility or bound organization. Gettysburg is National Park Service.. Federal Govt... big difference...