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

Theater Program

Who better to tell the stories of the people who were touched by the Civil War or slavery than the individuals themselves?

Professional actors and actresses portray authentic historical figures with scripts based on firsthand accounts written by the individuals themselves: James P.  Sullivan, Caroline Quarlls, or Cordelia Harvey.

Theater performances are 30 to 45 minutes in length and include a brief question and answer session. Performers are always available after the performance to meet the public.

Click Here for Details of Each Program

James P. Sullivan – Mickey of Company K

James Sullivan (Mickey) was a member of Company K of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry, one of the hard fighting regiments in the famous Iron Brigade. His slight stature and Irish heritage made him a favorite among the soldiers of the regiment. Mickey enlisted twice, was wounded three times, and served throughout the Civil War.

The performance begins with Sullivan getting ready for a Soldiers Reunion. Join him as he prepares to see his old friends and remembers their sacrifices from 1861 to 1865.


emerging quaralls

Caroline Quarlls – My Independence Day

On July 4, 1842, Caroline Quarlls–an enslaved 16 year old girl living in St. Louis–made the life changing choice to seek her own freedom. On that day, Caroline left the slave state of Missouri and began a journey that would take her to Milwaukee, a growing city in the Wisconsin Territory. There, she met a number of people who assisted with her escape to freedom in Canada.

During the performance, the audience meets Caroline in Canada in 1880. She has just received a letter from from Lyman Goodnow, one of the people that helped her travel the Underground Railroad from Wisconsin to Canada in 1842.  This powerful first person performance recounts their harrowing experiences and is based on the responses Caroline wrote to questions in Goodnow’s letter.


Cordelia Harvey – Wisconsin Angel

After Wisconsin governor Louis Harvey’s untimely death while visiting wounded soldiers near Shiloh, his wife Cordelia was appointed Wisconsin’s representative to the Western Sanitary Commission. She traveled up and down the Mississippi River visiting Union hospitals and helping thousands of soldiers from Wisconsin and other Northern states.

During the performance Harvey explains her travels and dramatic meeting with a skeptical President Lincoln. Through perseverance and determination she convinces President Lincoln of the merits of northern hospitals.



Theater Program Outreach

On-site Performance

Our actors and educators can travel to your school or site for a live program. This can be done in a space as small as an individual classroom or as large as an auditorium.

Virtual Performance

Using an online platform like Zoom or Google Meet, the museum can broadcast a live performance directly from the museum to your class or organization.

The essence of both outreach programs remain the same as a museum-based program. Theater performances are 30 to 45 minutes in length and include a brief question and answer session.


Whichever option best fits your class or organization, please plan on scheduling a performance one month in advance. For pricing and other information, please contact Rory Graves at [email protected].