Public Programs

Second Friday Lecture Series

The Second Friday Lecture Series is a monthly Civil War lecture program organized by the Civil War Museum of Kenosha, Wisconsin. All programs are held for an in-person audience at the museum. The lectures are recorded and posted to the museum’s YouTube channel.

The Second Friday Lectures begin at 12:00pm and there is no cost to attend. The Civil War Museum graciously thanks the Milwaukee Civil War Round Table and Iron Brigade Association for sponsoring this series of lectures.

Chicago’s Great Fire

Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City

Friday, October 13  |  12:00pm – 1:00pm |  Speaker: Carl Smith

The Great Chicago Fire of October 8-10, 1871 which destroyed the heart of the country’s rising inland metropolis and left a third of its population homeless, is one of history’s great disasters. If anything, the city’s rapid recovery was even more remarkable, revealing both Chicago’s resilience but also the world’s generosity. But both the city’s destruction and resurrection are a far more complicated–and interesting–story than this. This richly illustrated talk by the leading historian of the fire tells that story.

Carl Smith is Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History, Emeritus, at Northwestern University. His books include Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880-1920; Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman; The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City; and City, Water, City Life; Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago.

Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers with Jewish Heritage

Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers with Jewish Heritage

Friday, November 10  |  12:00pm – 1:00pm  |  Speaker: Richard Kane

Richard Kane’s presentation will be based on original research that he has been compiling since 2014 and include the following topics. In the mid 1890’s, Simon Wolf, a well-known Jewish attorney and diplomat, with access to thirteen presidents during his lifetime, attempted to identify Jewish Civil War soldiers. This was based mostly on name profiling and word of mouth, and, as a result, was quite inaccurate. Even with today’s modern research tools, there are many challenges in identifying Jewish soldiers. The soldiers’ countries of origin and their involvement with the Turners Society show that most of them were recent immigrants to the country. Their fatalities and disabilities represent a microcosm of these conditions in the army as a whole. Also, many of the soldiers and their family members have interesting and sometimes surprising stories to learn about.

WiFit for Duty

Fit for Duty: The Veteran Reserve Corps in the Civil War and Reconstruction

Friday, December 8  |  12:00pm – 1:00pm  |  Speaker: Dr. Steven Goldman

Described by the Indiana Adjutant General “as unusual a fighting force as the United States ever armed and equipped for action,” the dreadfully-named, preposterously uniformed Invalid Corps came into existence in April 1863, and within a year became the Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC). Despite general derision from able-bodied filed unit comrades, they provided valuable garrison, guard, and other types of off-line duty, and enabled superb soldiers to continue serving their country during the Civil War, and after.

Dr. Stephen A. Goldman will discuss the VRC’s formation, organization, responsibilities, and under-recognized contribution to the successful July 1864 defense of Washington. He will then explain how VRC soldiers played a major role in one of Reconstruction’s most vital organizations, the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Public Programs

Public programs are free to attend and pre-registration is not required unless otherwise noted.

Fight for a Gettysburg Farm

The Fight for a Gettysburg Farm

Saturday, October 14  |  1:00pm – 2:00pm  |  Speaker: Steve Acker

Steve Acker’s newest novel, The Fight for a Gettysburg Farm, tells the story of the Sherfy Farm during the Battle of Gettysburg. From the family that called the farm home to the Union and Confederate units that battled across its acres, this exhaustively researched story gives a human voice to one specific portion of the Battle of Gettysburg. In Steve’s presentation, he will show us the history behind the novel using rich images and powerful first-person accounts.

Veterans Day

Navy Ship Club 40 Veterans Day Ceremony

Saturday, November 11  | 11:00am – 1:00pm

Join the Navy Ship Club 40 in a celebration of Veterans Day at the Civil War Museum. Includes a performance by the Woodwind Quintet, “Fairwinds” from Navy Band Great Lakes. Light refreshments will be provided; open to the public.

Grant at Donelson

Grant at Ft. Donelson and Shiloh

Saturday, November 18  |  1:00pm – 2:-00pm  |  Speaker: Tom Arliskas

Grant’s rise to command in the Federal Armies was a self-taught belief that he knew how to win Battles. The life of General US Grant is the typical, Horatio Alger story where a young man, through self-reliance and hard work, rises to success, and won for Grant the admiration of a Nation. We will look at the early Grant as Brigadier General in 1861 through to Shiloh, April of 1862.

New research uncovered and re-purposed will convey to the audience Grant and Sherman, who turned out to be two of the best Generals in 1863 and 1864, for 1861 and 1862 were almost lost to the Union Army. Grant’s rise was a hard road and not what most Historians teach. Grant the man and the soldier will be reviewed with a perspective new to many people. It will be an interesting discussion on generalship, tenacity, and luck – a lot of luck.

Special Exhibition Programs

Special Exhibition programs are free to attend and pre-registration is not required unless otherwise noted.

Faith in the Fight Film

Faith in the Fight Documentary Screening

Tuesday, October 17  |  6:30pm – 8:00pm  |  Speaker: Rev. Robert Miller

Join the Civil War Museum as Rev. Robert Miller discusses the documentary film Faith in the Fight. The film discusses the roles played by the nearly 120 Catholic priests who ministered to the spiritual needs of both armies during the Civil War, focusing particularly on those who served in the Union Army of the Cumberland. This evening event will include introductory remarks, a showing of the documentary film, and a question and answer session.

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