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



Details about 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.



Glory Enough for All But One
April 10, 2015

Presented by Robert Girardi and Paula Walker. Major General Gouverneur K. Warren was one of the finest corps commanders in the Union army. In the war’s waning days, Warren led the 5th Corps to hard-fought victories at Lewis Farm, the White Oak Road and Five Forks, only to be relieved of command by a disgruntled and vindictive Philip H. Sheridan and U.S. Grant. Warrent spent the rest of his life seeking justice for the grievous wrong done to him, ultimately winning his final battle.

CSS Shenandoah
May 8, 2015

Presented by Tony Majewski. The CSS Shenandoah sailed and steamed 58,000 miles over 13 months, took the war to the frigid waters of Alaska, and circumnavigated the globe. In the process, she claimed more than 35 prizes and took close to 1,000 prisoners. Mr. Majewski details the storied history of this Confederate vessel.

The Kenosha Companies: Companies H & I of the 33rd Wisconsin Infantry
June 12, 2015

Presented by Bob Braun. The 33rd Wisconsin was organized at Racine, Wisconsin, and mustered into Federal service October 18, 1862. Many of the men from Companies H and I called the Kenosha area home. Hear the story of their Western Theater experiences which included the Vicksburg and Red River Campaigns and the Battle of Nashville.

Spring Family Fun Days

Spring family fun daysVisit the Museums from 1-4pm for free, family-friendly activities.

  • Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Dinosaur Discovery Museum
    Meet live raptors from the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab Center and learn about their connection to dinosaurs.
  • Thursday, April 9, 2015 – Civil War Museum
    Play Midwestern prairie games and songs. Enjoy maple syrup treats, johnny cakes, and other frontier delights.
  • Friday, April 10, 2015 – Kenosha Public Museum
    Unlock your artistic side as you paint, sculpt, and draw.

The Blackhat Discussion Group

Blackhat GroupWednesdays, Noon-1pm

Free public discussions on topics from the Museum’s collection of The Blackhat. First published in 1983 by members of the 6th Wisconsin Volunteers, the bulletins pertain to the Iron Brigade.

The Blackhats to be discussed at each session are listed below. Here are links for downloading each session’s The Blackhat.

April 8 – Early Days of the Iron Brigade
April 22 – Blackhat Biographies
May 6 – Rufus Dawes, 6th Wisconsin
May 20 – Battles and Skirmishes of the Iron Brigade

2nd Annual Great Lakes Home Front Seminar – Exploring the Civilian Experience During the Civil War Era

Homefront SeminarSaturday, April 11, 2015; Registration 8:30am-9:30am, last lecture ends at 3:30pm | Class # 0420776-107 | $60 ($50 FOM), including lunch | Register Using Paper

Here are details about speakers and topics.


Register Online Here

Won’t You Stay a While Longer? A First Person Presentation of President Lincoln

Tuesday, April 14, 2015; 7pm | $5 Suggested Donation at the Door

Presented by George Buss. President Lincoln, as portrayed by Mr. Buss, allows us some extra time as he lingers near his second floor Executive Mansion office. Be a part of his inner circle and take part in the conversation as Lincoln contemplates his full, second term and plans for a reconstructed United States.

Eyewitness to Assassination

Eyewitness to AssassinationWednesday, April 15, 2015; Noon

Presented by Rich Schimenti. Listen to an eyewitness account of the assassination of President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. This account details Lincoln’s last hours on earth, the efforts made to save his life, and the legacy he left the nation.



Harvest of Death: The Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry Arkansas

Harvest of Death: Battle of Jenkins Ferry, ArkansasSaturday, April 18, 2015; 1pm

Presented by Joe Walker. The Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry was one of the largest –and certainly one of the most vicious–in Arkansas Civil War history. Mr. Walker tells the story of two armies and their epic clash alongside the Saline River.



Civil War Hijinks

Civil War HijinksThursday, April 23, 2015; 6:30pm | $5 Suggested Donation at the Door

Presented by Judy Cook. Popular folksinger and historian Judy Cook’s songs, images, and readings give a unique peek inside life during the war. The family-friendly program was inspired by letters between her great-great grandfather, a soldier away at camp, and his wife left to manage the farm.



Wisconsin Humanities Council logoCivil War Hijinks is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities  Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project to do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Remembrance Field: A Civil War Memorial Project

Civil War Veterans Remembrance FieldMay 1-June 15, 2015 – North of the Civil War Museum parking lot

From 1861 to 1865 the Upper Midwest – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – sent 734,408 men to war; 104,145 perished during their service. Remembrance Field is a visual representation of the loss of life suffered during the Civil War. Each of the 1,042 stakes in the memorial represents the loss of 100 men from the Upper Midwest. Walk by, drive by, and stop by to pay tribute to the souls that paid the price to preserve the Union.

Tea with Mrs. Lincoln

Tea with Mrs. LincolnSaturday, May 9, 2015; 1pm | Event #0730869203 | $35 ($25 FOM) | Register

Mrs. Lincoln, portrayed by Debra Ann Miller of With Lincoln Productions, invites you for tea, finger sandwiches, salads, and sweets. Reminisce about her childhood, her days in Springfield, and her children as she celebrates the end of the Civil War. Drawing from her own letters to friends, family, and political figures of the era, this program paints a picture of Mary Lincoln that is both sympathetic and truthful. Advance registration is required.

Select FOM or Non-Member

The Rise of George Armstrong Custer, 1861-1865

The Rise of George Armstrong CusterThursday, May 21; 2015; Dinner 5:30pm/Presentation 7pm | Dinner & Program Event #0720870206 – $45 ($35 FOM) | Program Only Event #0720871206 $15 ($10 FOM) | Register

Presented by Gregory UrwinDr. Urwin is a prize-winning author and a professor at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he specializes in American and British military history from the War of Independence to World War II. His first book, Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer, appeared in 1983, and he has published 8 others since then, along with more than 100 articles and essays. Dr. Urwin has appeared in many historical documentaries and worked as an historical consultant and extra in the 1989 film Glory., Temple University. George Armstrong Custer is forever remembered for his catastrophic defeat at the Battle of the LIttle Bighorn. But he first rocketed to national fame more than a dozen years earlier during the Civil War. Ranked last in the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of June 1861, Custer reported to the front in time to participate in the First Battle of Bull Run. In less than two years, he received a promotion to brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers, becoming the youngest general in the Union army. Dr. Urwin’s program tells the story of the Boy General’s Civil War career identifying the elements of his spectacular success before he turned 25.

Train Extravaganza Weekend

Train ExtravaganzaSaturday, May 30, 2015; 10am-5pm
Sunday, May 31, 2015; Noon-4pm

All makes of model trains on display throughout the Civil War Museum and Kenosha Public Museum. Sponsored by Kenosha Garden Railroad Society.



The United States Military Railroad

MilitaryRailroadSaturday, May 30, 2015; 1pm

Presented by David E. Myers. Learn about the creation and development of the U.S. Military Railroads and the Railway Construction Corps. The Civil War was the first time warfare made extensive use of the transportation capabilities railroads offered. The visual program will show 60 photographs of the U.S.M.R.R. taken by Captain Andrew Russell, whose original photos documenting the railroad now exist in the collection of the National Archives.


8th Annual A Salute to Freedom: 1865, Homeward Bound

Salute to FreedomSaturday June 13, 2015; 10am-4pm

A day of encampments, living history programs, demonstrations, performances, games, food, music, and fun to celebrate soldiers’ return home from war.



Here are schedule details for A Salute to Freedom


Outside Activities: Music by the Regimental Volunteer Band, artillery demos by Cushing’s Battery, bugle demos, Union Infantry encampment and demos, “Fill the Wagon” donation drive to benefit Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

Indoor Activities: Soldier’s Fair, games, crafts, pie sale, storytelling.

Noon: Welcome Home Celebration for the troops with marching, music, and patriotic speeches.

1pm: Hattie’s War program and book signing with authors Hilda and Emily Demuth.

2pm: Exhibition match between Milwaukee Cream Citys Base Ball Club and the Chicago Salmon. After the game, take fielding and batting practice with the Cream Citys!

8th Annual Great Lakes Civil War Forum: 1865 – Melt, Melt Away Ye Armies

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Here are details on speakers and presentations

Scott Hartwig, “Casualties of War,” examines the impact of a single battle, Gettysburg, on the lives of soldiers who became casualties and their families.

Daniel Carroll Toomey, “The Lincoln Funeral Train” covers the planning and vast amount of resources committed to the 1,600 mile trip from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, IL.

James Marten, “All Was Not the Same As Before”: Civil War Homecomings in Wisconsin, will explore the ways in which individuals and organizations dealt with the incredible range of effects of the war on veterans and their families.

Antietam Campaign Tour

Antietam Campaign TourOctober 18-21, 2015

We are embarking on a multi-day tour of the sites and battlefields of the 1862 Antietam Campaign!

Tour highlights include:

o  Chartered transportation from the base hotel to all historic sites
Programs and guided tours with park historians, authors, and licensed guides
o  All hotel arrangements and meals included in the tour

Here is information about the cost of the tour, an itinerary, and a registration form.