The Civil War Museum offers many educational activities throughout the year. Here is the upcoming schedule.
Second Friday Lunchbox Lecture Series
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The programs are free. Bring your own lunch. Snacks and beverages are available in Museum vending machines.
Sponsored by the Milwaukee Civil War Round Table and the Iron Brigade Association.
Wisconsin’s Black Civil War Company
Friday, March 14, 2014; Noon
Presented by Jeff Kannel. Company F of the 29th US Colored Troops may be the least known of Wisconsin’s Civil War soldiers. With little training, they served near Petersburg, Virginia, participating in the siege and Battle of the Crater. After the war ended, they remained on active duty and served along the Mexican border. Hear and see the stories of these unknown Badgers and why their service was important to them and to Wisconsin’s history.
Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign
Friday, April 11, 2014; Noon
Presented by Dave Powell. Despite winning the battle of Chickamauga in September of 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg is often blamed for a number of missteps and mistakes during the campaign. Mr. Powell will discuss how the Confederate cavalry contributed to those missteps.
Uncle Billy’s Boys: the 55th Illinois at Vicksburg
Friday, May 9, 2014; Noon
Presented by Dr. 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
Presented by professor 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.
Inaugural Great Lakes Home Front Seminar
Saturday, March 15, 2014; 8:30am-3:30pm with registration 8:30am-9:30am |$60 ($50 FOM) includes lunch | Seminar #0420776107 | Register
Exploring the Civilian Experience During the Civil War Era
Learn more about the Great Lakes Home Front Seminar
Dr. Kerry Trask: We’re All In It Together: The War at Home and the Creation of Community in Wisconsin
In 1860 Wisconsin had the highest proportion of foreign-born inhabitants of any state in the country other than California, and most had arrived in the dozen years since statehood had been achieved. That created a diverse and often confusing mixture of languages, religious beliefs, and cultural traditions and a transitory people who shared neither common interests nor a collective identity.
The Civil War changed that.
Through adversity and hard times on the home front, as well as the shared sorrows emanating from the battlefields all doled out to every class and ethnic group with tragic equality, Wisconsin was transformed. This was huge conflict in which 49.7 percent of all the state’s men of military age served in the army. There wasn’t a village or city or family left unaffected and the war became a unifying experience and a common frame of reference shared by an entire generation. Out of that emerged a sense of community membership and collective identity.
Professor emeritus of history with the University of Wisconsin Colleges, Trask taught history at UW-Manitowoc from 1972 until his retirement in 2008. He earned his PhD at the University of Minnesota. A native of Canada, he has a particular interest in the early history and development of the Great Lakes region and has taught courses and published numerous articles on that subject. Trask has also published three books, including Fire Within: A Civil War Narrative from Wisconsin (1995), which was awarded the Council for Wisconsin Writers nonfiction book award, and the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Award of Merit. Professor Trask is a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. He lives in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Robert Miller: The Most Christian Nation in the World: Religion in American Culture on the Eve of War
In 1860, the most socially influential factor in America was clearly religion and faith. A great many Americans approached the War thru the lens of their faith, religion and specific cultures. We will look at American culture on the eve of war thru the prism of the Faith of two different families and religious upbringings. These families – one North, one South – capture well the painfully transforming issue which the Civil War became in American history.
Robert Miller was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After seminary studies in Wisconsin and New York, he obtained a bachelor of arts in philosophy, a masters of religious education, and a masters of divinity. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1976. In1990, Fr. Miller officially joined the Archdiocese of Chicago and began ministering in Chicago’s African-American southside community, first at St. Joachim Church and then co pastor of Holy Angels Church in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. In July 2006, he became pastor of St. Dorothy Church, also on the southside of Chicago, where he is ministering at present.
Between 2003-2006, he held official positions in the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, culminating in helping lead two battlefield tours and becoming president of the group (2005-2006). From January to June 2006, Fr. Bob took a sabbatical at Notre Dame University, taking courses in spirituality and, fulfilling a long-held dream, completed his sixth book, Both Prayed to the Same God – Religion and Faith in the American Civil War (Lexington Publishers, 2007). He continues to travel in speaking and promoting the topic of Civil War religion, as well as pastoring St. Dorothy’s and ministering around the Midwest.
Kathleen Ernst: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign
Historians identify the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), which unfolded September 17, 1862, as “the bloodiest day in American History.” By best counts, more than 23,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing by nightfall. And left in the smoldering aftermath were the children, women, and men who made their homes in the village of Sharpsburg and on surrounding farms. Kathleen Ernst will present an illustrated program about the experience of these politically-divided civilians during the 1862 campaign.
Ernst is a social historian, novelist, and educator. She is the author of Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, which was an alternate selection of the History Book Club. She grew up in Maryland and loved tramping over battlefields and through historic towns. During the 150th Anniversary commemoration she was honored to speak about the civilian experience at Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
Ernst has also written over twenty historical novels for young readers (including five set during the American Civil War) and four adult mysteries in the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series. Honors for her work include six awards from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, a Children’s Literature Award from the Society of Midland Authors, and Edgar and Agatha Award nominations. She also won an Emmy Award for a video scripted for public television. She has a masters degree in history education and writing from Antioch University. She lives and writes in Middleton, Wisconsin.
Brett Barker: Why the Northern Homefront Matters
When most Americans think about the Civil War and Union victory, their thoughts turn to Gettysburg or Vicksburg or Appomattox or Washington, DC. Yet in ways not often recognized, support for the Union war effort by a majority of Northerners was just as important in the war’s eventual outcome. Dr. Brett Barker will explain why this is true, drawing on examples from the lives of a cross-section of Midwesterners.
Barker is an associate professor of history at UW-Marathon County in Wausau, Wisconsin where he has taught since 2002. He received his PhD in history from UW-Madison. He is the author of Exploring Civil War Wisconsin: A Survival Guide for Researchers, published by UW Press and aimed at Civil War enthusiasts and genealogists who want to do research on Civil War Wisconsin’s soldiers and civilians. In 2007, he received the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award, given annually to one of the 350 faculty in the UW Colleges. This academic year he is on sabbatical to complete his book on the Midwestern home front during the Civil War.
4th Annual Civil War Expo
Saturday, March 29, 2014; 10am-3pm
Learn more about the Civil War Expo
Living history and heritage groups from around the Midwest will have informational tables set up in the Museum to introduce visitors to their programs and interpretation.
General Impressions of the Civil War – 1pm – Presented by Robert Girardi
Ever wonder what Civil War generals thought about their colleagues and peers? Mr. Girardi examines what Civil War generals wrote, said, and thought about each other.
This is a free event.
The Wreck of the Goodrich Steamer S.S. Wisconsin
Sunday, April 13, 2014; 1:30pm
Ms. Tamara Thomsen, a Wisconsin Historical Society maritime archaeologist, will present The Wreck of the Goodrich Steamer S.S. Wisconsin.
In 1929, the steamer S.S. Wisconsin foundered off of Kenosha in a gale, taking the lives of her captain and crew. In 2007, Wisconsin Historical Society divers conducted a Phase II archaeological survey of the wreck to explore her mysteries. Join the Kenosha County Archaeological Society and the Museum for an underwater tour, hear the ship’s storied history, and learn what divers discovered in the frigid depths of Lake Michigan.
The Atlanta Campaign
Tuesdays, April 22 and 29, 2014; 6:30pm-8:30pm – Civil War Museum | Class #0120558206 | $25 ($20 FOM) | Register
Mr. 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
Friday, 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
Saturday, 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.
State of War: The Illinois Homefront During the Civil War
Saturday, April 26, 2014; 1pm
Presented by Dr. 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.
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
Saturdays, 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.
Train Extravaganza Weekend
Saturday, 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
Tuesday, 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.
A Salute to Freedom – 1864 Encampment & Soldiers Aid Fair
Saturday, June 21, 2014; 10am-4pm
Learn more about A Salute to Freedom
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.
- 19th century fashion displays
- Musical entertainment
- Quilts display
- Hands-on family activities
- Appearances by ‘President Lincoln,’ ‘General Ulysses S. Grant’ and more
Outside the Civil War Museum: Reenactors portray an encampment of Midwestern troops at home on leave in 1864.
- Cavalry and artillery demonstrations
- Infantry firing demonstrations
- Union soldiers in camp
- Soldiers and their equipment
7th Annual Civil War Forum – 1864: Hard and Total War
Saturday, September 13, 2014 | Forum #0420355407 | $60 ($50 FOM) | Register
Learn more about the 7th Annual Civil War Forum
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 Steve Acker
- The Atlanta Campaign – From Dalton to Kennesaw by Greg Biggs
- One Drop in a Sea of Blue: Liberators of the 9th Minnesota Infantry by John Lundstrom