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


2nd Friday Lecture Series

Sponsored by the Milwaukee Civil War Round Table and Iron Brigade Association.

U.S. Grant’s Corinth and Iuka Campaigns
Friday, September 13, 2019; Noon
Dan Nettesheim’s presentation will focus on U.S. Grant’s strategic concepts and planning for the Iuka and Corinth campaigns. These campaigns, while relatively obscure, are key to the development of Grant’s generalship as they are his first after Henry Halleck’s promotion and transfer to Washington. They also reflect Grant’s relationship with General William Rosecrans, another major Western commander.

Benjamin F. Butler: A Man with Many Nicknames
Friday, October 11, 2019; Noon
Presented by Ron Carlson. Benjamin Butler was known as “Beast,” “Spoons,” and “Bottled Up.” He was famous for ill treatment of civilians, stealing from southerners, and military incompetence. Mr. Carlson’s presentation will address the accuracy of the “common knowledge” concerning Butler and his military career.

Thomas Jefferson’s Wisconsin Civil War Connection
Friday, November 8, 2019; Noon
Presented by Richard Kane. This presentation is a biographical presentation about Eston Hemings Jefferson, the youngest son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. His children (which were Thomas Jefferson’s grandchildren) served as soldiers in Wisconsin regiments during the Civil War. One was a private in the 1st WI Infantry and the other, John Wayles Jefferson, was a colonel with the 8th Wisconsin Infantry.

The Great Lakes Civil War Forum

Saturday, September 14, 2019 | Registration 8:30am; Program Begins 9:30am | $60 ($50 FOM) Lunch Included | Register Here

This Battle Will Go by the Name of Gettysburg

Join the Museum for a day filled with presentations and discussions about Gettysburg.

The Great Lakes Civil War Forum Presentations

The Fate of a Confederate Deserter after Gettysburg – Presented by Dr. Peter Carmichael

On August 20, 1863, thirteen veteran soldiers from the 3rd North Carolina decided that they’d had enough of war. That evening, in the blackness of night, they picked up their rifles, slung on their cartridge belts, and escaped into the woods. From that point on there was no turning back. Join Professor Peter Carmichael of Gettysburg College and learn why these soldiers deserted and what happened to them during their journey. This lecture will focus on the words of John Futch, one of the thirteen deserters. Though he was illiterate, Futch left a remarkable set of letters that he dictated to his comrades. Futch’s powerful story puts us in the shoes of a deserter, enabling us to see his world after the devastating defeat in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This speech is part of Dr. Carmichael’s newest book entitled, The War for The Common Soldier: How Men Thought, Fought and Survived in Civil War Armies.

The Fight for the Sherfy Far – Presented by Mr. Steve Acker

Drive down the Emmitsburg Pike, toward the famous Peach Orchard, and you will pass the Sherfy Farm. Immaculately maintained by the NPS and the Gettysburg Foundation, only the house shows signs of the intense battle fought amongst the outbuildings and in the house on that Thursday in July of 1863. Using photographs, primary source accounts, and rich history, Mr. Acker will show you the people and events surrounding the Sherfy Farm before, during, and after the Battle of Gettysburg.

The “Other” July 2: The Defense of Culp’s and Cemetery Hills – Presented by Dr. James Pula

When most people think of the second day at Gettysburg they think of Col. Joshua Chamberlain’s 20th Maine immortalized in the movie Gettysburg. Or they think of James Longstreet’s Confederate attack on Daniel Sickles’ Third Corps that came very close to shattering the Federal defenses along Cemetery Ridge. Only a few think of the “other” important events of July 2, the Confederate assaults on the Union Twelfth Corps on Culp’s Hill and the Eleventh Corps on Cemetery Hill. But these events were every bit as crucial to the preservation of the Federal position and the eventual Union victory. This illustrated PowerPoint presentation will explain these assaults, the Union defense, and the importance of the two engagements on the Union right.

Gettysburg Through the Eyes of the Painter – Presented by Mr. Keith Rocco

Mr. Rocco will discuss the scenes of the battle which he has painted over his 35 year career. The slide show will also touch on the history of historical art and artifacts from the Gettysburg Visitor Center used in the creation of his paintings.

Whoever Saw a Dead Cavalryman: The Origins, Growing Pains and Eventual Maturation of Union Cavalry During the Civil War

Friday, September 27, 2019; Noon

Presented by Richard Zimmermann. Hear the story of how five mounted regiments of American light cavalry, suited for pre-1860 frontier warfare, evolved into a potent force that changed the course of the war with their Southern opponents by the spring of 1865.

Victorian Spiritualism

Friday, October 11, 2019; 6pm-8pm
$20 ($10 FOM) | Adults 21+ only | Register Here

Spirits of the past, move among us! Explore the practices of Victorian spiritualism that took the world by storm throughout the 1800s. Participate in seances, learn about their obsession with the afterlife, the occult, the art of crystal gazing, and clairvoyance. Who knows what secrets may be revealed to you when you look beyond the veil into the unknown!

The First Wisconsin Cavalry and Kenosha’s Camp Harvey

Saturday, November 16, 2019; 1pm

Presented by Bruce Klem. The troopers of the First Wisconsin Cavalry mustered into the regiment between September 1, 1861, and March 8, 1862. Part of that time was spent at Kenosha’s Camp Harvey. Relying on first person accounts, Klem’s presentation will consider the impressions of Kenosha that these men left behind while training and living there that winter. The program will also detail the military record of the 1st after they left Kenosha for service in southeast Missouri, Arkansas, and Georgia.

SPARK! at the Civil War Museum

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! schedule

August 16, 2019: Trades Day

Learn about the trades of the 1800s including canning and blacksmithing.

September 20, 2019; Back to School

Join us for an 1860s lesson, have a snack and learn about children’s lives at school and at home.

October 18, 2019; Old Fashioned Fun

Play a game of pick up sticks, master tavern puzzles and make a Civil War era toy.

November 15, 2019; Civil War Stories

What was under Lincoln’s hat? What was Old Abe? Who was the Angel of Wisconsin? Find out the stories behind the Civil War.

December 20, 2019; Holiday Tea

Learn how to set a table for tea service, complete a holiday craft and sip tea while listening to holiday music.

To learn more about SPARK! programming and other partner museums, visit Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.

The free SPARK! program is made possible by the Helen Daniels Bader Fund, a Bader Philanthropy.

6th Annual SPARK! Alliance Conference: Connecting Communities

Thursday, October 3, 2019; 8am-5pm and Friday, October 4, 2019; 8am-1pm

Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Elizabeth Lokon. Here are the details.

I’ve Heard of Her

3rd Thursdays, Noon

Bring a lunch and join Museum staff in a discussion of the remarkable and often unknown parts of the lives and roles of women in history. You might know their names but not all the details. Explore the good, the bad, and the in between. This free monthly program is held in conjunction with Suffrage 100.


September 19, 2019: Ida B. Wells – Born intro slavery during the Civil War, Wells became a journalist, activist, and researcher. Join us for a discussion on how race and gender did not stop her from becoming a powerful and influential woman.

October 17, 2019: Mary Todd Lincoln – There was more to Mary Todd Lincoln than being Abraham Lincoln’s wife. Learn about Mary’s upbringing, life in the White House, and her connection to spiritualism.

November 21, 2019: Sarah Hale/ Pocahontas – Sarah Hale was a writer, editor, and the mother of Thanksgiving, who petitioned several presidents for federal recognition of the holiday. Pocahontas was a Powhatan American Indian in what later became known as Virginia, and is one of the most misrepresented woman in history thanks to her depiction in animated film.

Afternoon at the Movies

Tuesday, September 17, 2019; Noon

Watch a free showing of the 1951 film The Red Badge of Courage starring Audie Murphy. The Red Badge of Courage is an adaptation of Stephen Crane’s novel of the same title about a Civil War Union soldier who struggles to find the courage to fight in the heat of battle.

Veterans Day Commemorative Celebration

Saturday, November 9, 2019; 11am

Join the Civil War Museum and Navy Club 40 for a veterans’ reception, Navy Club program, and concert of patriotic music. Free and open to the public.

2019 Manassas Campaign Bus Trip

October 20-23, 2019

Here is the itinerary. Reservations for the trip can be made by mail, in person, or by phone at 262-653-4140 with a credit card.