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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


Perryville: Battle for Kentucky

Friday, October 8  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Chris Kolakowski

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln said, “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.” Over ten weeks in the late summer and early fall of 1862, Confederate armies invaded the Bluegrass State in a campaign culminating in the Battle of Perryville on October 8. Chris will examine this critical campaign and battle and assess its place in the Civil War.


Essayons! The 1st Michigan Engineers

Friday, November 12  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Brian Conroy

As the Civil War began, the need for trained engineers to guide and build was extremely necessary throughout the military. The U.S. Corps of Engineers was too small to fulfill this role, and so volunteer engineering regiments began emerging, with the Wolverine state bringing forth three of these regiments. The 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics lasted throughout the war, building railroads, bridges, and other fortifications while serving throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, and traveling with General Sherman to Atlanta, Savannah, up through the Carolinas, and finishing their service in the Grand March in Washington, D.C.


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.


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.



Lost Songs of the Civil War

Saturday, October 2  |  1pm  |  Presented by: Chris Vallillo

From camp ditties to re-written versions of popular songs of the day, Civil War soldiers remade music to fit their own tastes and reflect the struggles and hardships they faced. Award winning folk musician and folklorist Chris Vallillo takes us deep into the journals and letters of the Civil War troops bringing these rare and unheard gems back to life in a new program.



Unplugged Day

Saturday, October 2  |  12-5pm  |  Location: Civil War Museum Resource Center

Looking for a family friendly activity that doesn’t involve screen time?  Stop in the newly revamped Resource Center to learn about old fashioned leisure activities and play with some of the “original” handheld games. Then experience some 19th Century chores like churning butter, making ice cream and spinning yarn.  Be sure to stop and try on the costumes for the full experience – and great photo ops!



Veterans Day Commemorative Celebration

Thursday, November 11  |  11am
Navy Club Ship 40 will present a program to commemorate Veterans Day.  Plus, veterans and active duty military receive free admission on November 11.
Sponsored by Piasecki Funeral Home


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.

September 18:  Before She Was Harriet

October 16:  Mary Wears What She Wants

November 20:  How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln

December 18:  The Legend of Old Abe



2021 Corinth/Shiloh Tour

Shiloh: Conquer or Perish  |  Sunday, October 17 – Wednesday, October 20  |  Click here for details

Join the museum as our annual campaign tour travels to Corinth, Mississippi, and Hardin County, Tennessee, to study the tactics, soldiers, and events of the Battle of Shiloh.



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.


Harriet Tubman

Thursday, October 21  |  Noon  |  Presenter: Samantha Machalik

Learn about what life was like for Harriet Tubman before she escaped enslavement, and what the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad did after the Civil War.


Click here to watch past I’ve Heard of Her programs on YouTube




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, October 15:  Historic Kenosha  –  Learn about the 19th Century history of the City of Kenosha through the use of maps, letters, newspaper articles, and museum artifacts.

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.