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



Details about Events and Classes can be found here.

Second Friday Lecture Series

This free series is sponsored by the Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable and Iron Brigade Association.


lady elginFriday, May 12, 2017; Noon
Slavery, Secession, and the Voyage of the Lady Elgin

Presented by Brian Kangas. This program focuses on Milwaukee on the eve of the election of 1860 highlighting the conflict between Wisconsin’s Radical Republicans, led by Governor Alexander Randall and Irish Democrats in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.



sparkFriday, May 19, 2017; 2pm-3pm

Spark! is a monthly program for individuals in early to mid-stages of memory loss and their caregivers that engages participants in lively conversations, storytelling, interactive exhibit experiences, object handling, and other multi-sensory activities. To register please contact Jenn Edginton or Carolyn Wheeler at 262-653-4141 or at
May 19: Victory Gardens

Holocaust Remembrance Day Program
Restorying Their Identity: The Fate of the Individual During the Holocaust

holocaustTuesday, April 25, 2017; 6:30pm

Remember those who suffered, those who died and those who fought as Estelle Laughlin shares her experience as a Holocaust survivor. Her family and more than 400,000 Jews from Warsaw, Poland, and surrounding areas were forced to live in a 1.3 square mile ghetto and to wear a white armband with a blue Star of David. In 1943 her family was forced into the Majdanek Concentration Camp and then were moved to two other concentration camps. Members of the Tremper High School Choir will perform and a reception will follow the program.

Sponsored by the Kenosha County Clergy Association and the Kenosha Public Museums.

Home Front Seminar

home front seminarSaturday, April 29, 2017; Check-In 8:30am-9:30am; Programs Begin at 9:30am | $50 ($40 FOM) includes lunch | Register Here

Join the Museum for a day filled with talks pertaining to the social history aspects of the Civil War Period.



Here is detailed information about speakers and programs

Curiosities, Popular Entertainments, and Sectional Identity at the Northwestern Sanitary Fairs Presented by Dr. Jennifer Bridge. During the Civil War, sanitary fairs raised funds for sick and wounded soldiers while entertaining visitors by combining elements of traditional charity bazaars and popular commercial amusements like P.T. Barnum’s American Museum. The fairs inspired the Union public’s will to persevere against the Confederacy by channeling local and regional community feeling into a celebration of northern nationalism.

The Underground Railroad in the Upper Middle West Presented by Galin Berrier. There is a great deal of myth and legend in what we think we know about the workings of the Underground Railroad in the years before the Civil War. Older accounts tell the story of the white abolitionists who aided freedom seekers, while more recent scholarship emphasizes the role of enslaved blacks themselves in effecting their freedom. This talk will use incidents from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin to illustrate the thesis that “the controversy over fugitive slaves became, next to the issue of slavery in the territories, the spark that inflamed sectional conflict into civil war.”

Mackinac Island’s Influence on the Civil War Presented by Brian Jaeschke. Mackinac Island is known for its tourism, but it has a rich military history. This presentation will look at the military post of Fort Mackinac and the officers who served at the fort prior to the Civil War. It will discuss the three political prisoners sent north by Tennessee Governor Andrew Johnson kept in the fort and the company of men formed to provide guards. Sergeant William Marshall, longest serving soldier at the fort, will be introduced as the caretaker of the post and his family’s influence on the Straits of Mackinac. The lives of Mackinac Island residents who served in the war and the families they left behind will be a focus along with the post war army and Grand Army of the Republic post on the island.

Rooster Cogburn, Jesse James and Bloody Bill: Historic Fiction and Fictional History Presented by Bjorn Skaptason. When author Charles Portis imagined the seedy bounty hunter Rooster Cogburn for his great novel “True Grit,” he had ample historical material to draw upon. Civil War Historian Bjorn Skaptason’s program will explore the intersection between history and fiction in “True Grit” as its characters remember the Civil War.

Women in History Tea
Civil War Caregiver Clara Barton

womens history teaSaturday, May 13, 2017; 1pm-3pm | $35 ($25 FOM) for adults. $20 ($15 FOM) for children ages 10-17 | Register Here

Join us for a tea and first-person presentation by Leslie Goddard as Clara Barton. Clara Barton earned fame as the first woman to serve as a caregiver on the front lines of a battlefield during the Civil War, and later became the founder of the American Red Cross in 1881. This program, set in 1864, explores the medical conditions of the Civil War and how she provided supplies and comfort to the soldiers. Barton’s American Red Cross experienced tremendous growth during WWI and provided much needed medical services, food, transportation and comfort kits for American and Allied soldiers and sailors.

My Father’s WWI Experiences as a German Cavalry Officer and a Reconnaissance Pilot

WWI German PilotSaturday, May 20, 2017; 1pm

Presented by Paul Rempe. In April 1917 the U.S. entered World War I, a brutal and costly global conflict. By then, America had slowly recovered from its own Civil War slightly over fifty years earlier. Dr. Rempe’s talk concerns his father’s experiences as a cavalry officer and pilot in the German Army of World War I. His father’s story highlights the many technological changes that occurred between those two wars which led to millions of casualties in the first major war of the twentieth century.

Train Extravaganza Weekend

Saturday, May 20, 2017; 10am-5pm
Sunday, May 21, 2017; Noon-4pm

All makes and all models, and at the Kenosha Public Museum, too!

Sponsored by the Kenosha Garden Railroad Society.


Salute to Freedom

Saturday, June 10, 2017; 10am-4pm

A timeline of living history and military encampments that span from the Revolutionary War to World War I. Demonstrations include blacksmith, Civil War era baseball, period music, games, and crafts. Plus a concert with the Kenosha Pops Band at 3pm.

The Great Lakes Civil War Forum
Tullahoma, Chickamauga, and Beyond

ChickamaugaSaturday, September 16, 2017 | Check-In 8:30am; Program begins at 9:30 am | $60 ($50 FOM) includes lunch | Register Here




Here is detailed information about speakers and programs

Turning the Tide: The Union Cavalry in the Tullahoma Campaign Presented by Mr. Greg Biggs. Prior to the cavalry engagement fought literally within the town of Shelbyville, Tennessee, on June 27th, 1863, as part of Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans brilliant Tullahoma Campaign, Confederate cavalry in the West had been dominating their Union counterparts at most every turn.  Dynamic and bold leaders like Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joe Wheeler and the “Kentucky Thunderbolt”, John Hunt Morgan, coupled with officers like Thomas Woodward and Adam Rankin Johnson, led raids throughout the Tennessee and Kentucky theaters of war, beating Union cavalry at almost every turn.  But all of that started to change just before and at Shelbyville, when Wheeler’s vaunted troopers were routed out of town by an aggressive Union cavalry brigade under Col. Robert Minty.  Indeed, the performance of the Union cavalry in the entire campaign outshone their Rebel counterparts and served as a wake-up call that the days of being dominated were over.  From Shelbyville forward, Union cavalry in the West would start to dominate the Confederates for the rest of the war.

Longstreet in the West Presented by Mr. David Powell. In September 1863, the Confederacy took the unprecedented step of sending an infantry corps from Virginia to reinforce Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, hoping to stave off disaster in north Georgia. That corps was led by James Longstreet. Only five of Longstreet’s brigades arrived in time to take part in the battle, and Longstreet himself did not reach the field until halfway through the contest. In later years, Longstreet’s impact – both at Chickamauga and subsequently – became hotly debated topics, especially since Longstreet became deeply embroiled in the Confederate Army’s demoralizing internal politics. This program explores the pros and cons of Longstreet’s tenure in the Western Theater.

General William Passmore Carlin and the Chickamauga Campaign Presented by Mr. Robert Girardi. Born in Carrollton, Illinois, in 1829, William Passmore Carlin graduated from the West Point Military Academy in 1850. He began a long military career on the frontier before returning to Illinois to take command of the 38th Illinois at the start of the Civil War. He rose to Brigadier General by November of 1862, and commanded the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the XIV Corps in the engagements at Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga and the summer 1864 Atlanta Campaign. Mr. Girardi’s program will study the Chickamauga Campaign through the eyes of one of the hardest fighting generals in the Army of the Cumberland, William Passmore Carlin.

Wounded Warriors Come Home: The Union Soldier In Peace Presented by Dr. Stephen Goldman, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Fellow, Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (FAPM), Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association (DFAPA). Homecoming Northern veterans confronted issues as overwhelming as those entailed by military service. They were now battle-hardened, proud professionals who had slain their fellow countrymen in unprecedented numbers, witnessed sights and performed deeds they never could have imagined. While American veterans had returned from war before, their sheer numbers and high proportion with debilitating, permanent injuries were unprecedented, and there was widespread trepidation. As the soldiers and sailors of the Union rejoined a society undergoing revolutionary changes involving race, equality, and sectionalism, neither their families nor fellow citizens knew what to expect. Would these men show violent proclivities? Would they accept civilian authority? Would they have stable relationships? Would they be able to find work? What would the future hold for disabled Union veterans with no G.I. Bill of Rights or Department of Veterans Affairs, and only an embryonic pension system? Dr. Goldman will examine these critical (and timeless) questions surrounding returning veterans, and demonstrate the tremendous therapeutic impact of the warrior identity, then and now.


Civil War Museum Campaign Tour 2017 – Fredericksburg, Virginia

October 22-25, 2017

Here are the details.