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Civil War 150th Anniversary Exhibit Comes to RI State House

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Civil War 150, a national traveling exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of one of the most transformative periods in U.S. history, will be on display at the Rhode Island State House from Monday, March 3rd until Friday, March 21st.

Civil War 150 commemorates the 150th anniversary of the war, told through the words of the political figures, soldiers, families and freedmen who witnessed the war firsthand. The arrival of the exhibit was announced by the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission, who lobbied successfully to make the State House one of fifty sites nationwide that will have the honor of hosting the exhibit. The exhibit will be displayed on the south side of the State House Rotunda and is open to the public 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"The exhibit is on its way from South Dakota," said Kathy Hartley, an exhibit spokesperson. "Typically it is being displayed at libraries, but it was pretty special that we were able to get it for display in the State House.  This is due to the work by the RI Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission and its chair, Frank Williams. This is just one of the projects that the Commission has undertaken as part of its charge to commemorate the Civil War and educate Rhode Islanders about the impact of the War." 

"The War…Through the Words of Those Who Lived It"

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History developed the exhibition from their collection in partnership with The Library of America through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The exhibit is part of a three-year project developed by the NEH entitled Civil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning Through the Words of Those Who Lived It."

“We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Chief Justice (Retired) Frank J. Williams, Chair of the RI Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “Through reproductions of documents, photographs, and posters, the exhibition invites visitors to learn about events that took place during the war through the eyes of individuals. Though the Civil War took place 150 years ago, people today can still identify with the thoughts and fears of ordinary citizens and soldiers, many of which reflect a humanity that is forever consistent. We hope that this will help visitors better understand the human and political costs of war.”

There will be several public events that will be held in conjunction with Civil War 150. The exhibit's opening will be marked by a ceremony on Thursday, March 6th at 3:30pm. On the 18th between 9:30 and 11:30, over 1,800 middle schoolers will journey to the State House to see the exhibit. The students will then will be treated to a performance by hip-hop and rap artists who will interpret the exhibit's historical themes into modern lyrics and dance. "It will be quite an event," says Hartley. "There will be Civil War reenactors at the State House while they view the exhibit, then prior to the performance…there will be 'President Lincoln' in a press conference with Chief Justice (Retired) Frank J. Williams conducting the interview."

For more information on the exhibit, visit http://www.rhodeislandcivilwar150.org/


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