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



Upcoming Lectures

Wisconsin’s Sigel Regiment in the Civil War

Friday, January 8  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Dr. Jim Pula  |  Watch on Facebook

The 26th Wisconsin was a mostly German regiment raised in Milwaukee and communities along the Lake Michigan coast from Kenosha to Manitowoc in the summer of 1862. Calling itself the “Sigel Regiment” after the famous German American leader Franz Sigel, the regiment was heavily engaged at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being transferred west where it was active in relieving the sieges of Chattanooga and Knoxville, took an important part in Sherman’s campaign to capture Atlanta, then marched with him to the sea at Savannah and north through the Carolinas. Gaining universal praise, the 26th Wisconsin was rated highly in William Fox’s list of “fighting regiments.” This animated PowerPoint presentation examines the regiment’s history through its achievements and some of the experiences of men who served in the ranks.


Reconstruction: A Revolution

Friday, February 12  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Victoria Smalls, Reconstruction Era National Historical Park  |  Watch on Facebook

The Reconstruction Era, 1861-1900, was a historic period in which the United States grappled with the question of how to integrate millions of newly free African Americans into social, political, economic, and labor systems. Ranger Smalls’s presentation focuses on aspects of education, citizenship, and land ownership for the Freedmen, on prominent figures and political leadership, on 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution and present a new timeline of Reconstruction.


Electricity and Civil War Medicine

Friday, February 19 |  Noon |  Presenter: Dr. Trevor Steinbach  |  Watch on Facebook

Dr. Steinbach’s program explores the medical use of electricity as well as the surgeons and doctors who made use of this cutting edge technology during the Civil War. Learn about the equipment they used, the injuries it was used to treat, how well it worked, and more.


Scotland and the Civil War

Friday, March 12  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Dr. David Silenat  |  Watch on Facebook

Dr. David Silkenat of the University of Edinburgh discusses the role of Scotland in the American Civil War, including the 50,000 Scots who fought in the war, Scotland in the abolition movement, the construction of blockade runners in Scottish ports, and the lasting influence that the American Civil War had on Scotland.


Virtual Programs

Kansas Grows the Best Wheat and the Best Race Women: Black Women in the Central Plains 1890-1920

Thursday, February 11  |  7pm  |  Presenter: Doretha Williams  |  Free but registration required  |  Register Here

The Civil War Museum is collaborating with the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) to help share the accomplishments of American women both locally and nationally. Funding for this free program comes from the Smithsonian Affiliations Program in support of the AWHI’s new book, Smithsonian American Women.

Advance registration is required. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants the day of the program.

Doretha Williams Bio

Doretha Williams serves as the Program Manager for the Robert F. Smith Fund at the National Museum of African American History and culture. The fund serves to make accessible historical collections through digitization, public programming and interaction, and by supporting educational development in the museum and archives fields. Prior to her appointment at NMAAHC, she was the Project Director for the D.C. Africana Archives Project (DCAAP), a grant-funded appointment with the Africana Studeis Program and the University Libraries at the George Washington University. From 2011-13 Ms. Williams served as the Executive Director of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, an educational resource that provides access to its collections for research, exhibition and publication to honor community heritage and to catalyze public awareness in Kansas City. During this time she served as Project Manager of the Project on the History of Black Writing. She managed the Langston Hughes National Poetry Project and completed the Microsoft Encarta Africana. Ms. Williams is a proud graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, TN. She received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Kansas.


No Place for a Lady

Friday, March 5  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Betsy Estilow  |  Free but registration required through Kenosha Public Library

Soldier, politician, farmer and nurse were all jobs traditionally held by men until the Civil War engulfed our nation. Women, both in the North and South, moved out of their homes and into the workforce. One of the most important of these roles was that of nurse. Although in the mid 19th Century it was considered improper for a woman to nurse a man outside of her family, thousands of women defied these constraints and moved into the hospitals. They were met with scorn and contempt from the medical establishment but they persevered. The roles taken by these women transformed society and their stories tell an often overlooked tale of courage, sacrifice and devotion.


I’ve Heard of Her Programs

Once a month museum staff lead a discussion on remarkable women, exploring their lives and roles in history – the good, the bad, and the in between. Programs are free and currently being broadcast on the Facebook page.

Victoria Woodhull

Thursday, January 21  |  Noon  |  Presenters: Caitlin Manwaring & Samantha Machalik  |  Watch on Facebook

Meet the first woman to run for President of the United States. Victoria Woodhull was a spiritual medium, stockbroker, woman’s suffragist, and free love advocate. Learn how she rose out of poverty to national prominence, finally living out the end of her life in wealthy English society.


Mae C. Jemison

Thursday, February 18  |  Noon |  Presenters: Caitlin Manwaring & Samantha Machalik  |  Watch on Facebook

Mae Jemison was the first Black woman to travel to space on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. She fought through obstacles to become an engineer, doctor, and astronaut. She is also an author and actor, appearing, appropriately enough, in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Join us as we discuss her many accomplishments, and how Jemison plans to have humans travel to another star.


Artemisia Gentileschi

Thursday, March 18  |  Noon  |  Presenters: Caitlin Manwaring & Samantha Machalik  | Watch on Facebook

Influenced by Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian painter in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Trained by her father, tortured in an infamous trial, and the first woman accepted into the academy of Arts and Drawing, learn how Gentileschi combined Baroque style with religious and self-portrait imagery to become one of the most well-known female painters of the era.



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.

Immigrants in the Civil War

Friday, January 15  |  2 pm

Using artifacts and stories of the new temporary exhibit, Defending the Union: Immigrant Soldiers in the Union Army, curator Doug Dammann will share the histories of German immigrant soldiers who served in Wisconsin regiments. Then share your own family histories and stories.

Civil War Photo Albums

Friday, February 19  |  2 pm

Many Civil War soldiers collected photos of their friends and fellow soldiers and displayed them in elaborate photo albums. Take a look at several of the albums and photos that soldiers collected. Bring your own photo albums to share stories about the photos you have collected.

Wisconsin and the Civil War

Friday, March 19  |  2pm

View artifacts from the Civil War Museum and learn about the role Wisconsin soldiers and civilians played during the war.


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
Lincoln and the Presidential Campaign of 1860
Sir Butternut Comes to Madison
Among the Badgers: Rediscovering Sites Associated with Abraham and Mary Lincoln in Wisconsin
Such Anxious Hours: Wisconsin Women’s Voices From the Civil War


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 Heard of Her series on YouTube

Jane Addams
Josephine Baker
Lizzie Borden
Belle Boyd
Sarah Emma Edmonds
Queen Lili’uokalani
Ada Lovelace
Margaret Meade
Betsy Ross

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