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The history, the people and the stories of the Upper Midwest



Details about Events and Classes can be found here.

Second Friday Lunchbox Lecture Series

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Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the series is a free program sponsored by the Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable and Iron Brigade Association.

Bring your lunch or purchase snacks and beverages from the Museum’s gift shop.



Grand ArmyFriday, November 11, 2016; Noon
150 Years of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.)
Presented by Mike Wozny. The Grand Army of the Republic—first organized in Decatur, IL, in 1866—was among the first advocacy groups in American politics. Its membership supported voting rights for black veterans, promoted patriotic education, helped make Memorial Day a national holiday, and lobbied the United States Congress to establish regular veterans’ pensions. The program covers the legacy of the G.A.R. from inception to its final muster in 1956.

african americans in civil warFriday, December 9, 2016; Noon
Make Way for Liberty: Wisconsin African Americans in the Civil War

Hundreds of African American Civil War soldiers served representing Wisconsin, and many of them lived in the state before and after the war. Relative to the total number of Badgers who served in the Civil War, African Americans were few but they made up significant numbers of soldiers in at least five regiments of the United States Colored Infantry. They served in several artillery regiments and in the most famous black regiments, the 54th and 55th Massachusetts. Their pre- and post-war lives in rural communities, small towns, and cities form an enlightening story of acceptance and respect for their service but rejection and discrimination based on their race.

Rooster Cogburn, Jesse James, and Bloody Bill: Historical Fiction and Fictional History

true gritWednesday, October 19, 2016; 7pm

Bjorn Skaptason from the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop explores the intersection between history and fiction in Charles Portis’ True Grit as its characters remember the Civil War.

This program is in support of the True Grit Big Read Program hosted by Gateway Technical College. Pick up a free copy of True Grit at the Civil War Museum beginning mid-September.

Contact the Kenosha Public Library ( for details of all Big Read community programs.

Nashville and Middle Tennessee Civil War Sites

October 23-26, 2016

From Sunday, October 23, to Wednesday, October 26, the Civil War Museum will be sponsoring a motor coach tour of the principle Civil War sites of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Our expert guides will take the group to Fort Donelson, Stones River National Battlefield Park, Franklin, and Civil War sites within the city limits of Nashville. The price for the trip includes all hotel accommodations, meals, motor coaches, guides, and park fees.

Here is a detailed itinerary and pricing. To reserve your place, call the Museum at 262-653-4141.

Rockin’ Boofest

Saturday, October 29, 2016; 1pm-4pm

boofestShow off your costume as you rock and stroll through the Museums. There will be trick or treat stops and these special activities at all three Museums:

Civil War Museum

Lantern Tours on the hour starting at 1pm
Presidential Zombie
Story Time for young kids every hour starting at 1:30pm
Create your own Spooky Story

Kenosha Public Museum

Mad Scientist Lab
Punk’n Painting
Monster Mash
DIY Trick or Treat bag

Dinosaur Discovery Museum
Haunted Dino Digs

Masons at Gettysburg–North vs. South

masons at gettysburgSaturday, November 5, 2016; 1:30pm

Mr. Trevor Steinbach, Past Master of the Armistead-Bingham Civil War Lodge 1862—Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, elaborates on all of the masons that held roles in this critical battle in July, 1863.




Friday, November 18, 2016 and January 20, 2017; 2pm-3:30pm

The Museum is pleased to introduce Spark! a free program designed for individuals living with early to mid stages of dementia, their care givers, and family members. Specially trained Museum educators engage participants in lively discussions, story telling, object handling, interactive exhibit experiences, and other multi-sensory activities. Special needs are accommodated in a safe and comfortable environment. Additional program dates include November 18 and January 20.

The programs are free, but registration is limited and required. Please contact Carolyn or Jenn at 262-653-4141 or for more information or to register.


Lincoln’s Greatest Journey: Sixteen Days that Changed a Presidency, March 24th-April 8th, 1865

lincolns journeyFriday, December 2, 2016; Noon
Book signing and discussion by acclaimed author Noah Andre Trudeau.

In late March 1865, a vast and terrible civil war was winding down, leaving momentous questions for a war-weary president to address. A timely invitation from General U. S. Grant provided the excuse for an escape to City Point, Virginia, a journey from which Abraham Lincoln drew much more than he ever expected. Lincoln’s Greatest Journey, by award-winning author Trudeau, offers the first comprehensive account of this momentous time.

First editions of the book will be available for purchase and signing at this event.

More about Noah Andre Trudeau

Noah Andre Trudeau is a history graduate of the State University of New York at Albany. His first book, Bloody Roads South, won the Civil War Round Table of New York’s prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award, and enjoyed a cameo appearance in the hit web television series House of Cards. His fourth book, Like Men of War, a combat history of black troops in the Civil War, was honored with the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation’s Jerry Coffey Memorial Book Prize. His other books include a bestselling history of the Battle of Gettysburg, Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” and a compact biography of Robert E. Lee.

Victorian Christmas

victorian christmasSaturday, December 3, 2016; 11am-4pm

Explore the traditions,  music, games, and dances that soldiers and civilians used to celebrate the Christmas season during and after the Civil War.

Stop by the Kenosha Public Museum (right next door) to celebrate International Holiday Faire.




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Visit a Civil War soldier’s winter camp

Victorian arts, crafts, and games

Dramatic readings of The Night Before Christmas

Appearance by Civil War Santa

11am West Side Victorian Dancers demonstration

Noon Prairie School cello and piano ensembles

2pm The Vitrolum Republic concert

3pm West Side Victorian Dancers demonstration

The Emancipation to the March on Washington: The Big Steps Toward Citizenship

march on washingtonSaturday, December 10, 2016; 2pm

Presented by Dr. Christopher Reed of Roosevelt University of Chicago

The tortuous road to the recognition of full human rights, accompanied by the enjoyment of citizenship rights and privileges proceeded through various stages. The first phase involved emancipation from bondage, which represented the end of the beginning of the struggle for freedom. Subsequently, the pursuit of equality of opportunity in employment, fair wages, housing, and education began.

Then, intermediate steps aimed at improvement in the quality of life followed with southern enfranchisement and subsequent disfranchisement; southern peonage and northward migration; and lastly, northern adjustment by African Americans to living in a state of quasi-freedom.

The mid-twentieth century witnessed the concluding phase in the movement aimed at achieving full citizenship. The March on Washington in 1963 stood as a high point in the struggle in pursuit of equality of opportunity. This event preceded the passage by the U.S. Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963 exhibit and programs are presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The tour of the traveling exhibitions is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.