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



Upcoming Lectures

The following Second Friday Lectures will be held in-person at the Civil War Museum.  Sponsored by the Civil War Round Table of Milwaukee and Iron Brigade Association.


The Lincoln Marriage: Heaven or Hell?

Friday, December 10  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Steven Rogstad

The Lincoln marriage remains one of the most controversial areas of study among scholars. Viewed in both sympathetic and critical perspectives, the marriage has been described as both a hell on Earth for Abraham Lincoln and a compassionate and loving union. A recent indictment of Mary Lincoln portrays her as a person who was dishonest as her husband was honest. It was a pairing of two complex and opposite natures, which both complemented and opposed each other.


Click here to watch past lectures and the Coffee & Hardtack series on YouTube



Constitution Day Discussion Series

3rd Friday in September, October, November  |  Noon  |  Location: Civil War Museum

Co-sponsored by the Civil War Museum and the Jack Miller Center, this series engages community members in discussions about the relationships between the Constitution, slavery and the Civil War.

Click here to download a free digital copy of the book, Reconstruction: Core Documents, which will be used for discussion.

More Details

Friday, September 17:  The Reconstruction Amendments  |  Dr. Eric Pullin

During this session, participants will discuss the political struggles that led to the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Between 1865 and 1870, many Americans hoped these amendments woul transform the U.S. from a nation “half-slave and half free” to a nation that experienced a “new birth of freedom.” Discussion will explore the tragedies, successes, and hope of the Reconstruction Amendments.

Eric Pullin received his undergraduate degree from Rockford College and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches courses in American History, including Nineteenth-Century America and the Civil War.


Friday, October 15:  The Philosophy of Free Speech in the First Amendment  |  Dr. Paul Ulrich

This discussion will explore the First Amendment as a philosophic text that contains a vision of what it means to be human. It will take into account passages in the Federalist Papers and some speeches by Abraham Lincoln to show that these great political men thought deeply about the highest human faculty, reason.

Paul Ulrich received his undergraduate degree and his doctorate from the University of Chicago. He teaches political philosophy primarily, and he teaches literature from a philosophic perspective.

The following documents will be referenced during the discussion, and can be downloaded here:

Federalist Papers #1

Federalist Papers #37 and #38

The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions


Friday, November 19:  Wartime Freedom: Lessons From the Civil War  |  Dr. Tom Powers

Participants will consider the extent to which a tension between liberty and security is built into the logic of the United States Constitution. The first most serious test of the question of how best to reconcile these two competing concerns occurred during the Civil War. President Lincoln took steps that are debated to this day and the best starting point for thinking about his position is to be found in a series of landmark Supreme Court decisions that followed. We will examine Lincoln’s actions, his defense of them, and the response from civil libertarians on the Supreme Court.

Tom Powers received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and his doctorate from the University of Toronto. He teaches Constitutional Law and Religion and Politics at Carthage. His work related to the legal field explores the interrelationships between political theory and constitutional law in particular.




Members-Only Gift Shop Sale

Friday, November 26 – Sunday, November 28

Check off your holiday gift list while supporting the Museums!  Enjoy 20% off purchases in addition to the regular 10% member discount – for a total of 30% off purchases.*

Not a member yet?  Join here today.

*Sale excludes consignments and media.  Cannot be combined with any other offer.




Repercussions of the Civil War for the Nations of the Great Lakes

Tuesday, November 30  |  6pm  |  Presenter:  Eric Hemenway  |  Free Virtual Program  |  Register Here by November 29

Eric Hemenway, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa THPO, will continue his Tribes and the Civil War discussion from April by focusing on the repercussions of the Great Lakes Tribes as a result of the Civil War.



Victorian Christmas

Saturday, December 4  |  10am-4pm

Step back in time and celebrate Christmas traditions from the Victorian era.  In addition to musical performances, highlights include ornament making, a Civil War era game parlor, holiday crafts, displays of doll houses and Civil War miniatures, Civil War soldier living history presentations, plus free admission for all visitors.

Performance Schedule:

11am – Ed Pierce and the Palmyra Eagle Brass Band:  holiday favorites

1pm – MGV Harmonia German Men’s Choir:  holiday favorites

2:30pm – Frogwater:  festive Irish favorites and holiday music


Plus stop by the Kenosha Public Museum to celebrate an International Holiday.



A Cowboy Christmas

Sunday, December 12  |  1 pm 

Join RG Radio Productions for a heartwarming afternoon of Old Time Radio featuring a Gunsmoke Christmas Story. In this recreation of an episode that aired December 20, 1952, US Marshall Matt Dillon finds himself stranded on the prairie miles from Dodge and accepts the aid of a stranger. Along the way the stranger learns the real meaning of Christmas.  Plus, enjoy a holiday bonus: the sometime humorous, always touching recitation of cowboy poetry for Christmas.



Young History Heroes Story Time

Third Saturdays  |  11am  |  Location: Resource Center

Young learners ages 4-8 can listen to a story about a special hero from history.  A new hero will be taught each month.

December 18:  The Legend of Old Abe





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.

Please register for the free program at [email protected] or 262-653-4141.

2pm – 3:30pm  |  Location: Civil War Museum  |  Free but registration required at [email protected] or 262-653-4141


Friday, November 19:  Coffee and the Civil War  –  Coffee increased morale of Civil War soldiers, provided comfort before a battle, and gave fortitude to continue marching. Sample some coffee as we discuss the many varieties of coffee consumed during the war.


Friday, December 17: Holiday Traditions and Crafts – Explore 19th Century holiday traditions, games and crafts.