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



Upcoming Lectures

Lincoln and the Presidential Campaign of 1860

Friday, October 30  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Doug Dammann  |  Watch on Facebook

As we enter the final week of election campaigning, explore the similarities and differences of modern campaigning to that of Lincoln’s 1860 campaign. Take a look at the daily and monthly actions of Lincoln to discover how he promoted himself, his relationship with his running mate, and how he prepared for the November 6, 1860 election.


Sir Butternut Comes to Madison

Friday, November 13  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Larry Desotell  |  Watch on Facebook

Examine the experiences of Confederate soldiers of the 1st Alabama Infantry, in both the Battle of Island No. 10 and their experiences as prisoners at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin. Gain insight into their personal background such as age, occupation, income and connection to slavery.


Among the Badgers: Rediscovering Sites Associated with Abraham and Mary Lincoln in Wisconsin

Friday, November 20  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Steven Rogstad  |  Watch on Facebook

Abraham and Mary Lincoln only visited Wisconsin five times, and never together. Even though they were not frequent visitors to the state, Wisconsin has numerous monuments, memorials and markers which honor the Lincoln family. Mr. Rogstad takes a look at the unique and unusual history of the monuments, including donors who died prematurely, a sculptor who demolished his statue with an axe, a statue with a plaque that misidentifies its creator, and a Will that was contested all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to prevent funds from being used to create a Lincoln monument.


Such Anxious Hours: Wisconsin Women’s Voices From the Civil War

Friday, December 11  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Jo Ann Daly Carr  |  Watch on Facebook

From the last days of the Civil War, letters of Wisconsin soldiers written to loved ones at home have been shared in newspapers and books. But the voices of Wisconsin women at the home front have remained largely hidden in libraries and archives. Ms. Daly Carr will reveal the voices of eight Wisconsin women whose letters and diaries provide a narrative of the war from the fall of Fort Sumter to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. These writings reflect the everyday lives but also unmask the ways they changed, and were changed by, the Civil War.


Virtual Programs

Teacher Webinar on Teaching Hard History Resources

Thursday, November 12  |  4pm  |  Presenters: Doug Dammann and Jenn Edginton  |  Register Here

The Civil War Museum educators have created a free document to help teachers teach hard topics around Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) topics related to the Civil War. Join Museum Curator and Education Department Manager Doug Dammann, and Curator of Education Jenn Edginton, to explore this new resource and use it in the classroom. The webinar will go over content and pedagogy to use in the classroom to tackle the complex and hard histories like enslavement, monuments, and memory of the Civil War. The goal of this webinar is to help teachers build comfort, confidence and competencies while teaching the Civil War. The BIPOC resource is available for free download here.

Free but registration required. A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants the week of the webinar.


Make Way for Liberty: Wisconsin African Americans in the Civil War

Wednesday, November 18  |  6:30pm  |  Presenter: Jeff Kannel  |  Register Here

Author Jeff Kannel will discuss his new book, Make Way For Liberty, the important new work published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. The book shares the stories of hundreds of African American soldiers and regimental employees who represented Wisconsin in the Civil War. The lives of these individuals before and after the war in rural communities, small towns, and cities form an enlightening story of acceptance and respect for their service but rejection and discrimination because of their race. Make Way for Liberty brings clarity to the questions of how many African Americans represented Wisconsin during the conflict, who among them lived in the state, and their impact on their communities.

This program is free, but registration is required. A Zoom link will be emailed to registered participants the week of the program.


Civil War Media Club: The Three Cornered War by Megan Kate Nelson

Monday, November 30  |  6:30 pm  |  Instructor: Doug Dammann  |  $10 ($5 FOM)  |  Virtual  |  Register Here

In The Three Cornered War Megan Kate Nelson reveals the fascinating history of the Civil War in the American West. Exploring the connections among the Civil War, the Indian wars, and western expansion, Nelson reframes the era as one of national conflict involving not just the North and South, but also the West. Please read the book before the meeting and be prepared to discuss and ask questions. A Zoom link will be emailed the day of the program.


From Enslaver to Civil Rights Advocate: The Political Evolution of Ulysses S. Grant

Thursday, December 3  |  7 pm – 8:30 pm  |  Instructor: Nick Sacco, NPS  |  $15 ($10 FOM)  |  Virtual  | Register Here

Ulysses S. Grant was a slave holding farmer who voted for Democrat James Buchanan for the presidency in 1856. Twelve years later Grant himself was elected to the presidency as a Republican committed to securing the right to vote for African Americans. Park Ranger Nick Sacco will examine Ulysses S. Grant’s political evolution, how the War shaped his views towards race and slavery, and why he came to believe the Republican Party was the only party that could successfully promote sectional reconciliation during the Reconstruction Era.  Mr. Sacco will also provide additional resources for teachers who want to teach their students about Grant and the Civil War era. A Zoom link will be emailed the day of the program.


I’ve Heard of Her Programs

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Thursday, November 19  |  Noon  |  Presenters: Jenn Edginton & Samantha Machalik  |  Watch on Facebook

Sarah Emma Edmonds is one of the most well known female soldiers of the Civil War. Hiding her real identity, she enlisted as Franklin Thompson to fight for her adopted state of Michigan. Learn how she hid her identity, fought alongside men, was the only female member of the GAR, and went on to write an autobiography of her life.

Ada Lovelace

Thursday, December 17  |  Noon  |  Presenters: Jenn Edginton & Samantha Machalik  |  Watch on Facebook

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of poet Lord Byron. In her short life she became a well known mathematician, a countess, and may have helped write the first of what is now known as computer code.


Member Appreciation Gift Shop Sale

Friday, November 27  |  10 am – 4:30 pm|  Kenosha Public Museum, Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum

As a thank you to Friends of the Museums members we’re giving 30% off all gift shop sales* at the three museums.  Shop local for holiday gifts for friends, family and yourself!

Not a member yet?  Click here to join today.

* excludes books, media and consignments, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.


In Person Programs

Civil War Museum Christmas Tour

Thursday, December 10  |  3 pm  | Instructors: Doug Dammann and Jenn Edginton  |  $15 ($10 FOM)  |  Register Here

Get in the holiday spirit with a special tour of the Fiery Trial gallery. Learn how the Lincolns spent Christmas and New Year’s. Hear how soldiers at the front, and their families back home, celebrated while being apart. Learn more about how Christmas Trees and other Victorian Holiday traditions began.



This monthly program is for individuals living with early to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners. Participants are engaged in lively conversations, storytelling and other multi-sensory activities.

All SPARK! programs are currently being offered virtually. Please register for the free program at [email protected] or 262-653-4141. A link to Zoom will be emailed to all registrants the week of the program.

Kenosha in 1800s

Friday, November 20  |  2 pm

Take a virtual field trip to the Kenosha Public Museum to learn about the Potawatomi who lived in Kenosha prior to European contact. You’ll see artifacts that show how they lived in the four seasons, and get a virtual tour of the trading post.

Holiday Traditions

Friday, December 18  |  2 pm

Grab your favorite tea and join us for a program about holiday traditions dating back to the Civil War. Learn how the Lincolns and soldiers celebrated the holidays.


Past Lectures

Click here to watch the following lectures on YouTube

The 29th Wisconsin at Vicksburg
Gettysburg Stories: Monuments and Iconic Locations
The Great Camel Experiment
Illinois Regiments at Gettysburg: July 1863
Medical Innovations of the Civil War
The Other Civil War in Mexico
The Petersburg Regiment in the Civil War: A History of the 12th Virginia Infantry From John Brown’s Hanging to Appomattox, 1859-1865
Recovering the Voices of the Union’s Midwest Irish
The Vicksburg Campaign: Grant’s Masterpiece
The War That Made Beer Famous


Click here to watch the following lectures on Facebook

Arming Ohio
Seceding the Secession
The Wounding of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


Click here to watch the following I’ve Here of Her series on YouTube

Jane Addams
Josephine Baker
Lizzie Borden
Belle Boyd
Queen Lili’uokalani
Margaret Meade
Betsy Ross

Click here to watch the Coffee & Hardtack lecture series on YouTube