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


The Civil War Museum offers many educational activities throughout the year. Here is the upcoming schedule.

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.


Uncle Billy’s Boys: the 55th Illinois at Vicksburg
Friday, May 9, 2014; Noon – Freedom Hall

Presented by Laurence Schiller, Northwestern University. Dr. Schiller describes the actions of the Illinois 55th, under the overall command of Brigadier General William Sherman, during the Vicksburg Campaign and gives a picture of the tensions and problems of the civilian soldiers who made up the regiment.

Who the Heck is Abner Doubleday? Baseball and the Civil War
Friday, June 13, 2014; Noon – Freedom Hall

Presented by Bruce Allardice. Civil War soldiers spent more time playing baseball than they did fighting battles. Mr. Allardice takes a sometimes serious, sometimes humorous look at our national pastime and how it was played during the war.

United States Colored Troops and the Retreat from Brice’s Crossroads
Friday, July 11, 2014; Noon – Freedom Hall

Presented by Bjorn Skaptason. A significant portion of the Union Army that fought at Brice’s Crossroads was made up of United States Colored Troops. This program introduces us to the former slaves who fought for the Union, and it tells the story of their fighting retreat of 75 miles to Memphis.

Lee’s Finest Hour
Friday, August 8, 2014; Noon – Freedom Hall

Presented by Lawrence Hewitt who will discuss the Army of Northern Virginia’s high command during the Wilderness Campaign of May 5-12, 1864.

The Atlanta Campaign

The Atlanta CampaignTuesdays, April 22 and 29, 2014; 6:30pm-8:30pm – Civil War Museum | Class #0120558206 | $25 ($20 FOM) | Register

Bjorn Skaptson of the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop of Chicago, takes an in-depth look at the major battles and events of the 1864 Union campaign to capture the city of Atlanta.



Spring Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day at Civil War MuseumFriday, April 25, 2014; 1-4pm

  • Play Civil War children’s games
  • Go on a scavenger hunt in the Fiery Trial exhibit
  • Try on Civil War-era clothes
  • Meet a curator and discuss Seeing the Elephant movie after each showing

Check out the free activities at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum and the Kenosha Public Museum this week, too!

Living History Event: 36th Illinois

Living History Event - 36th IllinoisSaturday, April 26, 2014; 11am-3pm

Reenactors from the 36th Illinois reenact a time line of their events and appearances during the war. View artifacts from the original 36th Illinois including Grand Army of the Republic medals, images of members of the 36th, and selected personal effects.

This program is offered as companion programming to the exhibit, A House Divided – Illinois and the Civil War.


State of War: The Illinois Homefront During the Civil War

Illinois During the Civil WarSaturday, April 26, 2014; 1pm

Presented by Theodore Karamanski, Loyola University. The Illinois homefront was a great economic asset to the Union. Besides tremendous agricultural output, the Civil War-era saw Chicago go from a commercial to an industrial center. Dr. Karamanski will discuss the political and social divisions that roiled Illinois. Important contributions included war songs such as The Battle Cry of Freedom, the great Sanitary Fairs, the founding of the Union Leagues, and the Grand Army of the Republic.

This program is offered as companion programming to the exhibit, A House Divided – Illinois and the Civil War.

Peruvian Cuisine 

Sunday, May 4, 2014 – Civil War Museum | Class #0620378203 | $25 ($20 FOM) | Register

As part of the immigrant experience, many new foods with different vegetables, fruits, meats,  herbs, and spices have been introduced to the American palette. Peruvian immigrant Victor Olano will introduce you to some of his native foods. The menu includes two appetizers – papa a la Huancaína and vegetarian causa rellena – and an entrée, lomo saltado. The class fee includes Mr. Olano’s demonstration, the recipes, and sampling. This class is offered in conjunction with the exhibit Estamos Aqui at the Kenosha Public Museum.

A Soldier’s Life

A Soldier's LifeSaturdays, May 17, July 19, August 16, September 20, 2014; Noon-4pm

Check out these family-friendly reenactors in character as Civil War soldiers. Ask them about their gear, Civil War battles, and what it took to be a Civil War soldier. Join us at noon for a 45-minute interactive presentation designed for families or just stop by anytime after that to chat.

 Sponsored by the Kenosha Garden Railroad Society.


International Museum Day

International Museum Day 2014May 18, 2014

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 . Each year, International Museum Day gathers more museums from all around the world. In 2013, 35,000 museums from 143 countries on five continents participated in International Museum Day–including the Kenosha Public Museums!


Train Extravaganza Weekend

Train WeekendSaturday, May 31, 2014; 10am-5pm and Sunday, June 1, 2014; Noon-4pm – Civil War Museum and Kenosha Public Museum

The Civil War was the first major war during which the railroads played a crucial role. Two free presentations are offered by author and B&O Railroad Museum curator Daniel Carroll Toomey.

  • The First Front
    Saturday, May 31, 2014; Noon

When the Civil War began, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the most important railroad in the nation by being the only direct rail link between Washington, DC, and the loyal states. During the first three months of the war, the fate of the nation’s capital was determined by the movement of Union soldiers on trains provided by the B&O Railroad.

Mr. Toomey explores this “First Front” concept as presented in his new book, The War Came by Train: The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad During the Civil War.

  • The B&O – America’s First Railroad
    Saturday, May 31, 2014; 2pm

Mr. Toomey presents a second lecture on the history of the B&O Railroad with illustrations of all time periods.

Civil War Media Club: The Battle Hymn of the Republic, A Biography of the Song that Marches On

Civil War Media ClubTuesday, June 3, 2014; 7pm-8:30pm – Civil War Museum | Class #0120707206 | $10 ($5 FOM) | Register

Civil War Museum curator, Doug Dammann, will lead the Media Club discussion of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, A Biography of the Song that Marches On by John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis. Chosen as one of the best 10 Civil War books of 2013 by Civil War Monitor magazine, this book explores how the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” originated and why it still holds a powerful place in American history and cultural memory.


Kenosha Pops Concert

Saturday, June 7, 2014; 2pm

Join us on the Civil War Museum outdoor terrace for a rousing concert by the Kenosha Pops!

A Salute to Freedom – 1864 Encampment & Soldiers Aid Fair

West Side Soldiers Aid SocietySaturday, June 21, 2014; 10am-4pm

 Inside the Civil War Museum: Living history interpreters present civilian impressions from Soldiers Aid Fairs held in the Midwest from 1863 to 1865. These events sparkled with fanciful fund raising, games, displays, and an abundance of red, white, and blue.

Activities include:

  • 19th century fashion displays
  • Musical entertainment
  • Quilts display
  • Hands-on family activities
  • Appearances by ‘General Ulysses S. Grant’ and more

Outside the Civil War Museum: Reenactors portray an encampment of Midwestern troops at home on leave in 1864.

  • Activities include:
  • Cavalry and artillery demonstrations
  • Infantry firing demonstrations
  • Union soldiers in camp
  • Soldiers and their equipment

Museum Crawl

Friday, July 18, 2014; 6pm-10pm | Event #0920620305 | $35 ($25FOM) | Register

The 4th annual Museum Crawl is a progressive party that starts at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum. Party-goers take the streetcar to the Civil War Museum, then end the evening at the Kenosha Public Museum.

Live music, food and drinks, and lots of fun activities are featured at each stop.

Mr. Lincoln’s Air Force: Civil War Ballooning on Both Sides of the Line

Tuesday, August 26, 2014; 5:30pm Social Hour and Dinner; 7pm Program
Event #0920820306 | $40 ($30FOM) Dinner and Program
Event #0920821306 | $15 ($10FOM) Program Only

Presented by Dr. Tom D. Crouch, senior curator of aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Crouch describes the roots of aerial reconnaissance in the Civil War and traces the creation, operation and decline of the U.S. Army Balloon Corps headed by T.S.C. Lowe.

Combat operations of the Corps, 1861-1863, will be described, as well as Confederate attempts to counter the Union effort with observation balloons of their own.

7th Annual Civil War Forum – 1864: Hard and Total War

Saturday, September 13, 2014; 8:30am-3:30pm | Forum #0420355407 | $60 ($50 FOM) Includes lunch and admission to Fiery Trial | Register

Covering topics from 1864!

Speakers and topics will include:

  • International Views of Lincoln in 1864 by Dr. James Cornelius, curator of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Life of a Late War Regiment: The 36th Wisconsin 1864-1865 by Mr. Steve Acker
  • The Atlanta Campaign – From Dalton to Kennesaw by Mr. Greg Biggs
  • One Drop in a Sea of Blue: Liberators of the 9th Minnesota Infantry by Mr. John Lundstrom