History Center Offers Civil War Lectures and A Free Day for Veterans in March

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 13, 2013
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3148 • jessica.kohen@mnhs.org

Megan Lawson • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3141 • megan.lawson@mnhs.org

Quick facts: 


History Center Offers Civil War Lectures and A Free Day for Veterans in March

A number of public programs are being offered in conjunction with the History Center's new exhibit "Minnesota and the Civil War," opening March 2, 2013. Programs include lectures on the topics of Minnesota's postwar economy, race relations and the photographic arts. Plus, Veterans and active military are invited to visit the History Center for free on March 23.

Our Finest Hour: Civil War Memory in Minnesota

Dates: March 2, 2013
Time: 2 p.m.
Fee: Free
Reservations: recommended, call 651-259-3015 or register online

Civil War veteranFollowing the Civil War nearly 14-percent of Minnesota's population was comprised of veterans, many of them wounded; like much of the nation, Minnesota faced a sluggish economy; and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 imprinted Minnesota with the national reputation as a dangerous and violent outpost. Join historian Mary Wingerd as she examines how Minnesotans transformed this wartime history into a patriotic story that allowed them to build the state, and how both Civil War realities and memories helped create the Minnesota we live in today.

Dr. Wingerd is an associate professor of history at St. Cloud State University and the author of North Country: The Making of Minnesota for which she won the first bi-annual Hognander Minnesota History Award.

This program is made possible by the Hognander Family Fund. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. For more information visit http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/civilwarevents.

History Forum: Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Dates: March 9, 2013
Time: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Fee: $14/$10 MHS members.
Reservations: required, call 651-259-3015 or register online

Join historian David Blight for a discussion of the post war years. In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, new black citizens began reaching for the freedom and equality promised by Emancipation. Meanwhile, white Americans strived to reunite by downplaying sectional divides, celebrating shared white sacrifice on the battlefield, and denying the presence and participation of African Americans in the war and society. When the U.S. Supreme Court freed the white supremacist killers of more than 150 black Republican militiamen in 1873, the path was set. The United States would heal without justice, and our national “reunion” would create a painful legacy that still haunts us today.

David Blight is the author of "Frederick Douglass’s Civil War," and editor of Douglass’s "Narrative" and W.E.B. Du Bois’s "Souls of Black Folk," both widely taught in college courses. Blight has appeared in several PBS films and works extensively with museums and other public history projects. His book "Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, 1863-1915," won a half-dozen prizes, including four from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). He is also a Distinguished Lecturer for OAH.

This program is made possible in part through support from the Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund, voted into law by the people of Minnesota in 2008.

For more information visit http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/forum.

History Lounge: Joel Whitney Minnesota‘s Civil War Photographer

Dates: March 19, 2013
Time: 7 p.m.
Fee: Free

Joel WhitneyHundreds of Civil War soldiers sat for photographer Joel Whitney in his St. Paul studio, but who was the man behind the camera? Nationally recognized as one of America’s foremost photographic artists of the 19th century, Whitney operated first as a daguerreian and subsequently as a wet plate photographer in St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1850 to 1871.

The Minnesota Historical Society holds more than 800 of Whitney’s photographs ranging from exquisite daguerreotypes of St. Anthony Falls to compelling carte-de-visite portraits of Dakota Indians. Senior Curator Adam Scher will explore the life and work of this pioneer photographer and share some of these rare images from the Society’s collections.

For more information visit www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/lounge.

Soldiers’ Stories, A Free Day for Veterans

Dates: March 23, 2013
Time: noon to 4 p.m.
Fee: $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under, MHS members, Veterans and active service military.
Reservations: recommended for the 2 p.m. lecture, register online

Learn how American soldiers have kept in touch with the home front and how their writing kept up morale. Meet costumed soldiers from the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and today. At 2 p.m., Civil War historian and collector Wayne Jorgenson will share insights from his research and sign copies of his book, “Every Man Did His Duty; Pictures and Stories of the Men of the First Minnesota.” Plus, learn more about the Society's multi-year commemoration of the Civil War with an information fair.

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Society’s calendar of events is posted online at www.mnhs.org/calendar. The website also has information about all of the Society’s programs, museums and historic sites.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.