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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, December 14, 2018; Noon
War is Hell: Sherman’s March to the Sea

Presented by Bruce Allardice. Many Southerners, at the time and later, labeled William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” as a war crime, with Sherman singled out as the Civil War’s criminal. Certainly General Sherman was the war’s prime exponent of “hard war,” a war in which civilian lives and property were targeted in the hopes that would break southern morale and infrastructure. Sherman’s own “Make Georgia Howl” rhetoric fueled this image. But is the image correct? Did Sherman’s practice match his eliminationist rhetoric? More importantly, did Sherman’s army violate any recognized usage of war at the time, or was its often destructive path marked by out-of-the-ordinary atrocities? Professor Allardice reviews the facts of the March, and considers how it has been treated in history.




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

December 21: Holiday Tea Learn how to set a table for tea service, complete a holiday craft and sip tea while listening to holiday music.

Home Front Seminar

Saturday, March 16, 2019; Registration: 8:30am-9:30am; Programs Begin at 9:30am | $55 ($40 FOM) includes all programs, Museum admission, catered lunch | Register Here

The Civil War Museum’s annual Home Front Seminar highlights topics and talks pertaining to the non-military and social history aspects of the Civil War period.

More about the Home Front Seminar presentations:

Cardomania! The Rise and Fall of the Carte de Visite in Civil War America. Ronald Coddington, editor and publisher, Military Images Magazine. The Civil War Generation was the first to grow up with photography. This transformative medium made it possible for Americans from all walks of life to preserve their own likeness, a privilege once reserved only for the wealthy. During photography’s early years, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes ruled the portrait world. Then, on the eve of the Civil War, a curious new format landed in America—the carte de visite. After hostilities began, hundreds of thousands of citizen soldiers and sailors posed for their likenesses. Countless millions of photographs were produced. Significant numbers of these most intimate and personal artifacts survive today. Some are finding a place among the iconic images of the war. Join Ron Coddington, author of four books of collected Civil War portraits and editor and publisher of Military Images magazine, as he tells the story of the rise and fall of the carte de visite—and what became of them.

John Brown’s Children and the Long Reach of the Civil War. Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, History Department, Eastern Illinois University. The talk will cover the participation of Brown’s children in the antislavery movement and the coming of the war as well as their lives after Brown’s execution in 1859, when they lived with his notoriety. The last Brown child, Annie, died in 1926, and she and her seven  siblings long grappled with what Brown’s activism had meant and how it and the war should be, and were being, remembered by the broader American public.

Wisconsin Farms to Factories. Dan Hess, Old World Wisconsin. In the years leading up to the Civil War to the years following, Wisconsin saw vast changes in it’s agricultural and manufacturing industries.  What were these changes, what caused them, and what did this mean for the people of Wisconsin?  Dan Hess is the Guest Experience Manager of Historic Trades at Old World Wisconsin of the Wisconsin Historical Society. As the manager of it’s Historic Trades program Dan researches, practices and teaches people the history and practical skills of historic Blacksmithing, Leatherwork and Woodworking. His education includes studying History, Anthropology and Museum Studies at Luther College and Historical Administration at Eastern Illinois University.