The Siege of Petersburg dramatically affected the lives of its residents. Lavish lifestyles in the years prior to the Civil War gave way to a bitter struggle for survival. The men left to fight the war and many never returned. Food was in short supply. Corn became ''coffee'' and blackberry leaves ''tea.'' A chicken cost $50. The story of how the people of Petersburg lived before, during and after the Civil War is told through rare artifacts and writings. The museum is housed in the Exchange Building, erected in 1839 as a commodities market and one of the few such surviving buildings in America.