Civil War Museum: Kenosha, Wisconsin

In the coming weeks, I'm going to post some of the travel pieces I've written that have appeared in the Northwest Indiana Times. This one printed on October 23, 2010. I was very impressed with this museum and Kenosha remains one of our family's favorite getaway spots. With plenty of museums amd indoor activities, it makes for a great cold-weather destination, but if you visit during the winter, you MUST return in the summer to take full advantage of the lovely beaches!




Civil War Museum highlights Midwestern contributions

October 23, 2010 12:00 am  •  


Although no Civil War battles were fought on the soil of Wisconsin, the upper Midwest felt the effects of the war through the hundreds of thousands of individuals that went off to fight for the cause – a total of more than 740,000 from the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota.
So, it is only fitting that a museum highlighting the contributions of those men be placed in the Midwest. The two–story, 58,000-square-foot Civil War Museum in Kenosha, Wis., opened in 2008.
The main exhibit area is called "The Fiery Trial" and takes visitors on a chronological journey through the second half of the 19th century to give a sense of life before, during and following the war. As your tour begins, placards and video introduce you to the struggles of slavery and demonstrate what a small portion of the population was made up of African Americans in the free states through census reports. A gallery follows Lincoln in the years leading up to the war.
Lifelike interpreters tell their stories of facing the unknown as they headed off to the warfront, setting off in a railcar. You then wind around to "Seeing the Elephant" (a phrase that means "seeing battle"). A battle laser map is part of the 360–degree immersion exhibit that places you in the middle of the action.
Surrounding the exhibit are cases highlighting each state in the upper Midwest and on the outer portion of the circle are weapons, supplies, uniforms, musical instruments and other tools. Details of the draft can be read, along with the exceptions that were made for those who were wealthy enough to be relieved of duty.
Additional exhibits return you home via riverboat to a world much different from the one left behind. Social, economic, industrial and cultural changes are covered. You exit to a memorial and cemetery dedicated to the many soldiers who lost their lives.
Also on the first floor is a Veterans Memorial Gallery honoring soldiers of all wars that have affected the United States. A sculpture of Civil War soldiers around a campfire sits under a fiber optic sky surrounded by military memorabilia.
Upstairs a resource center is available for further research and a space for changing exhibits. Running through Dec. 5 is "It's a Grand Old Flag," an interesting collection of 19th century flags, which includes a battle flag from a Kenosha volunteer infantry. Opening Dec. 11 is an exhibit dedicated to Civil War fashions.
The museum is one of three in the Kenosha Public Museums Foundation Inc. and is situated on the lakefront beside the Kenosha Public Museum at HarborPark.

Comments

  1. We just visited last week and loved this museum! Given the size of Kenosha, I was shocked at the high-quality of all the Kenosha public museums!

    I liked Kenosha Public Museum the best, but they were all great visits :)

    ReplyDelete

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