SIUE to Sponsor Civil War Commemoration Event for April 16-17

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To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the American Civil War, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will play host to two days of activities—including a Civil War military “encampment” on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17.

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Five generations have passed since the end of the American Civil War, yet passionate debates and intense interest continue over the origins, purposes, meanings and consequences of this great watershed in American history.

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the American Civil War, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will play host to two days of activities—including a Civil War military “encampment” on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17.

The project, “This Hallowed Ground: Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War,” will include the Living History Exhibit (the encampment) from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday on the grassy median just across from SIUE’s Hairpin Drive. Historians will be on hand to answer questions about military life during the Civil War.

The event also will include a local version of the Antiques Road Show from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in SIUE’s Morris University Center, in which visitors may share family Civil war stories and artifacts with historians and librarians for recording purposes. Please note that items will not be appraised for monetary value; no firearms are permitted on campus.

A colloquia is also scheduled from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in the Morris Center that will include roundtable discussions about various aspects of the American Civil War. Five hourly discussions are scheduled: “Researching Your Civil War Ancestors,” “The Civil War and American Culture,” “Southwestern Illinois in the Civil War,” “Military Aspects of the Civil War,” and “What Every Teacher Needs to Know about the Civil War.”

A related event later that week on campus includes talks by Ken Burns, the award-winning documentarian, who is coming to SIUE as part of the University’s Arts & Issues series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20. Burns’ presentation, “The Civil War,” will take place in SIUE’s Meridian Ballroom.

SIUE Historical Studies Professor Steve Hansen, a Civil war scholar and coordinator of the April 16-17 event, said activities are aimed at exploring the social, cultural, political and military aspects of this part of American history. “We hope this commemoration will help visitors explore how history can enrich their lives by broadening an understanding of our heritage and our society.

“The Living History Exhibit will be an exciting part of the event with authentic replicas of weaponry and uniforms used during the Civil War,” Hansen said, “while the roundtable discussions and the Antiques Road Show will provide further insight.

“Five generations have passed since the end of the American Civil War,” he said, “yet passionate debates and intense interest continue over the origins, purposes, meanings and consequences of this great watershed in American history.

“The large number of books and popular and professional magazines published every year, and the remarkable number of people who participate in Civil War roundtable discussions, Lincoln associations and other groups reflect some of the depth of America’s interest.”

The entire project, including the Burns’ visit, is co-sponsored by the Alton Area Museum of History and Art, the Madison County Historical Society, the St. Clair County Historical Society, the Highland Historical Society and the Lebanon Historical Society. The project is being managed by SIUE Historical Studies faculty members and the SIUE Graduate School.

SIUE’s emphasis on undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research, creates practical applications for student learning. Located in the second most populated area of the state, this Illinois university draws students from all 102 Illinois counties, 42 states and 50 nations.

The SIUE College of Arts and Sciences combines foundational education with diverse and highly-specialized coursework. Faculty help students explore diversity of ideas, experiences and people while learning to think and live as fulfilled, productive members of a global society. The College offers 44 degree programs in the arts, humanities and social and natural sciences.

The SIUE Graduate School offers high-quality master’s programs centered on the collective understanding among faculty and students of the purpose and goals of the program. This engenders a sense of ownership and commitment, shaping values and customs, and building effective professional relationships, all in a rich, intellectual learning environment emphasizing research and practice.

Arts & Issues is a series of distinguished speakers and performers that supports the academic mission of the University. Students meet and discuss issues with renowned speakers in workshops, dinners, receptions and classes. Students in music and theater and dance work directly with visiting artists in master classes. Arts & Issues also gives students opportunities to gain experience in special events production, administration, fundraising and development.

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