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The history, the people and the stories of the Upper Midwest



Details about Events and Classes can be found here.

2nd Friday Lecture Series

Friday, August 10, 2018; Noon
The Dakota War of 1862

Presented by Heather Bruegl. The Dakota War of 1862 was a war between the United States and various bands of the Dakota/Sioux Nations. It was brought on by various treaty violations and ultimately ended with the mass execution of 38 Dakota warriors and the Dakota’s banishment from their homelands in Minnesota. Armed conflict between the United States and the Dakota people wouldn’t end until the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

Friday, September 14, 2018; Noon
Reevaluating The Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg

Presented by Dr. James Pula. For more than a century and a half the conduct of the Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg has been clouded by accusations that its men abandoned their posts with only feeble resistance. In this illustrated PowerPoint presentation, Mr. Pula will review the battle, the part played by the Eleventh Corps, and come to some very different conclusions.

Friday, October 12, 2018; Noon
He Was Called Billy Yank

Presented by Lance Herdegen. The Union soldier was called by many names during the American Civil War, but is remembered today as “Billy Yank.” In the first days of the conflict, he was a volunteer who enlisted for patriotic reasons to protect the Union. Later he was perhaps drafted, or accepted a bounty to enlist. In the final result, he not only saved the Union, but ended slavery. This is a look at how he lived while in uniform, what he looked like, and what he faced when he returned home.

Friday, November 9, 2018; Noon
Written on the Battlefield: Veterans Preserve Their Civil War, 1861-1900

Presented by Dr. Mary Abroe. Members of the Civil War generation were the first battlefield preservationists. By the early twentieth century old soldiers and their allies had created a core group of monument-dotted landscapes that commemorated the courage and military skill of American fighting men, both Yankee and Confederate. Reflecting contemporary nationalism and the period’s culture of reconciliation, preservation of the 1890s reconstructed the stories of great battles on the ground where they happened rather than recalling the reasons for the conflict: with the passage of time, remembrance for many had come to focus on the war itself rather than its racial or political issues. What the first parks tell us about the Civil War’s meaning to its participants is an enduring legacy of the founding decade




Spark! is a monthly program for individuals in early to mid-stages of memory loss and their caregivers. Participants are engaged in lively conversations, storytelling, interactive exhibit experiences, object handling, and other multi-sensory activities. Space is limited, so reservations are required. 262-653-4423 or




Upcoming Spark! Dates and Topics


Friday, August 17, 2018 Families – Take a tour of the new exhibit, For Honor and Family: Three Families in the Civil War. Then create your own scrapbook page to be added to your family’s heirlooms.

September 21: All About Bees Beekeeper Vicki Johnson-Steger will join us to talk about bees and beekeeping. Learn about this historical trade and learn how to make honeycomb candles.

October 19: Early Wisconsin By the time of the Civil War, Wisconsin had only been a state for thirteen years. Learn about what life was like in this area before the War.

November 16: Sketch Artist Using our gallery for inspiration, participants will learn the basics of sketching, a technique used by reporters and artists out at the battles.

21st Annual Pike River Rendezvous

Saturday, August 4, 2018; 9am-5pm
Sunday, August 5, 2018; 9am-4pm
Location: Simmons Island, Kenosha

Step back in time to the Fur Trade Era when American Indians and fur traders gathered to exchange goods and services. Watch more than 300 reenactors, craft and trade demonstrations, musical entertainment, and juggling. There are games, activities and entertainment for all ages. Parking in Kennedy Park with free horse-drawn wagon shuttle.

See the schedule.

Grandparents’ Day

Sunday, September 9, 2018; Noon-4pm | Locations: Dinosaur Discovery Museum and Civil War Museum

Spend quality time with special activities that families can do together. At the Dinosaur Discovery Museum dig for fossils in the Dino Dig, put together puzzles, and do hands-on activities. At Civil War Museum spend time in the Resource Center learning about old fashioned games and play “Guess the Gadget.”



Great Lakes Civil War Forum

Saturday, September 15, 2018; 8:30am-4:30pm | $60 ($50 FOM) includes lunch | Register Here

Conquer or Perish – The Shiloh Campaign

More information.



Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation, and the Constitution
Constitution Week Public Discussion

Thursday, September 20, 2018; Noon-1pm

This round table discussion will center on the Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and how it related to the presidential powers granted to him by the Constitution.

Prior to attending, please download and read these two documents and come prepared to share your thoughts.

Emancipation Proclamation: Abraham Lincoln’s Constitutionally Modest Proposal
Lincoln Lore: Indiana’s Reaction to Lincoln’s Proclamation of Emancipation

Archaeology Day – Camp Douglas

Saturday, October 20, 2018; 1pm-2pm

The Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation conducted its first Camp Douglas excavation in June 2012. The southern side of the camp was discovered by Dr. Scott Demel and students from Loyola Chicago and Northern Michigan University. Further investigations by Dr. Michael Gregory of DePaul University were done in 2013-2017, uncovering Civil War artifacts. At this presentation, Dr. Gregory and David Keller will give the latest information on the work being done at Camp Douglas and how the team is hopeful the site will be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Veterans Day Commemorative Celebration

Saturday, November 10, 2018; 11am-3pm

Join the Civil War Museum and the Navy Club 40 for a program, concert, and reception to honor veterans. All are welcome.

12pm: Navy Club Program
1pm: Veterans Reception
2pm: Patriotic Concert

Meet the Author: Looking for Lincoln in Wisconsin

Saturday, November 17, 2018; 1pm-2pm

Author and Lincoln historian Steven Rogstad discusses his new book Looking for Lincoln in Wisconsin.


Civil War Museum Campaign Tour: Chickamauga and Chattanooga

Sunday, October 21, 2018 – Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Itinerary and details.