Earlier this year, Civil War historians commemorated the 150th anniversary of the conclusion of the Civil War. Although it may seem as if most Civil War events and exhibitions are now at an end for the time being, some institutions in the Philadelphia area are continuing to explore the Civil War.
The University of Pennsylvania Library is currently featuring the exhibit, “The Civil War: An Ephemeral Lens Into the Life and Times.” This exhibit, which will be at the Library until March 21, 2016, focuses on small artifacts from the Civil War, usually regarded as insignificant items – or, in more precise terms, ephemera. As the exhibit description mentions, the focus on such small items gives greater insight into both war and civilian experiences. On October 9th, at 5:30pm, Dr. Edward L. Ayers will give a lecture on ephemera’s significance. Attending this lecture would be a perfect way to start fall break! Registration details are listed on the exhibit’s page, linked above.
Later in October, the National Gallery of Art will host a lecture on the “Art of the Name: Soldiers, Graves, and Monuments in the Aftermath of the Civil War.” Dr. Kirk Savage from the University of Pittsburgh will present this lecture, which explores the significance of names on gravestones in the post-Civil War period, and how identifying bodies with their appropriate names relates to questions of identity. The lecture is scheduled for October 21st, at 4:30pm.
If these two lectures leave you hungering for more Civil War events, you can check out the exhibit at the Mutter Museum, “Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits: Injury, Death, and Healing in Civil War Pennsylvania.” This exhibit explores medical questions of injury, disease, and treatments during the Civil War. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the exhibit is an interactive element that reveals what it would be like to have an arm amputated.
Finally, if you feel like taking a drive to Amish Country during fall break, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum currently holds an exhibit on Lancaster County at the end of the Civil War. Although the exhibit, “1865: Lancaster County at the Close of the Civil War,” is certainly intriguing, Landis Valley is also a living history museum focusing on Pennsylvania Dutch life and culture.
If you can, consider coming out for some of these lectures or visiting the exhibits! Though many sesquicentennial Civil War events have concluded, there are still wonderful Civil War things to explore in the Philadelphia area!