Deeply Personal Stories from the Civil War Distinguish 150th Anniversary Commemoration in Pennsylvania

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Stories of Justice and Equality Come to Life in Programs, Events and a Traveling Road Show Exhibit in Every County across the Commonwealth

Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is more than a formal remembrance. It is a collection of stories that are as epic as the battlefields at Gettysburg or as personal as the struggles of a soldier's wife on a Pennsylvania farm working to feed her family.

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Pennsylvania Civil War 150 celebrates the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War with events and programs throughout the Commonwealth that bring to life the stories of justice and equality faced by Pennsylvanians during the War. Highlights include a traveling exhibit housed in a 53 foot tractor-trailer that will visit all 67 Pennsylvania counties from 2011-2014 as well as parades, re-enactments, and more.

Events in April 2011 mark the beginning of the anniversary:

  • Event at the Capitol in Harrisburg marks the official beginning of the anniversary of the Civil War on April 12th and commemorates the immediate response of Pennsylvania’s governor and legislature in support of the United States
  • Philadelphia parade, review and living history re-enactment on April 16 commemorates the departure of the first troops from Philadelphia in 1861
  • Adams (Gettysburg) and Franklin Counties present events to launch 4-year anniversary starting in April 2011

Pennsylvania Civil War 150 commemoration launches traveling exhibit housed in 53-foot tractor-trailer:

  • First stop is Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center from May 5-9, 2011
  • A full tour schedule is available at http://www.PACivilWar150.com
  • The Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show will travel to all 67 Pennsylvania counties from 2011 to 2014

PA Civil War 150 shares stories online and in person:

  • The Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show includes a “Share Your Story” booth, where visitors are invited to record an oral history or share a Civil War artifact as well as an opportunity to create a Personal Scrapbook. Stories and scrapbooks in turn will be available online at http://www.PACivilWar150.com
  • Website and exhibits are rich in personal stories of Pennsylvanians who contributed and made sacrifices during the war, on the battlefield and at the home front

Pennsylvania’s role in the Civil War:

  • Site of the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania also enlisted the second-highest number of soldiers in the Union army
  • Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Arsenal produced some of the largest artillery pieces of the war and its iron foundries and forges were critical to military efforts
  • More than 8,500 of the 187,000 African American men who enlisted in the United States Colored Troops were from Pennsylvania and Camp William Penn, a major training facility for black soldiers, north of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is a statewide collaboration among key history organizations: the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission/Pennsylvania Heritage Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Heinz History Center, along with countless museums, historical societies, libraries and other nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth.

Each year of the commemoration has a designated signature focus:
2011 – Commemoration Kick-off/Road Show launch
2012 – Allegheny Arsenal/Emancipation Proclamation
2013 – Battle of Gettysburg and Gettysburg Address
2014 – Impact on the Home Front and Sanitary Fairs
2015 – United States Colored Troops Grand Review

Quotes:
Barbara Franco, executive director, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: “The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is an opportunity to understand how the war redefined our identity as a nation and our ongoing struggle for justice and equality. The war radically altered assumptions and aspirations at the core of our society in ways that continue to affect all of us today.”

“The Pennsylvania Civil War 150 commemoration is far more than a formal remembrance. It is a collection of stories brought to life that are as epic as the battlefields at Gettysburg or as personal as the struggles of a soldier’s wife on a Pennsylvania farm working to feed her family during her husband’s absence.”

“The planning process has included organizations from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and every region of the state. These collaborative efforts have resulted in a diverse and engaging line-up of programming and experiences for Pennsylvania visitors throughout the commemoration. It is our hope that the success we have achieved in planning for the 150th will serve as a model for statewide collaboration for future initiatives.”

Pennsylvania Civil War 150
Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is a statewide alliance of history, heritage, arts and culture organizations convened by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Pennsylvania Heritage Society (PHS) in 2007 to serve as the Commonwealth’s official planning committee for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (2011-2015). PA Civil War 150 coordinates statewide initiatives and facilitates activities at the regional and local levels to bring high-quality programming to the commemoration. For more information, visit http://www.PACivilWar150.com.

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Sharon Murphy

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