Cost of Freedom: Cayuga County and the Civil War

In recognition of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, the Cayuga Museum will present The Cost of Freedom: Cayuga County and the Civil War. The secession of the southern states and outbreak of the Civil War in 1860-61 was the culmination of decades of disagreement over issues of slavery, trade and tariffs, and the doctrine of State’s rights. Over the next four years, communities in Cayuga County contributed their time, resources, and even their lives to preserve the Union and create a new freedom in the United States, one which reshaped the constitution and forever changed the way we define liberty, patriotism and the nation.

The Cost of Freedom explores the Civil War as experienced by citizens of Cayuga County, both on the front lines and at home. This exhibit will feature the Museum’s unique Civil War collection including the hand illustrated maps of General John S. Clark and letters written by various soldiers from throughout the county. The exhibit will profile local men and women vital to the war effort and reconstruction including Emily Howland and William Wise, one of the first African American soldiers in the Country. Additionally The Cost of Freedom will highlight the contributions of those on the home front from the Ladies Union Aid Society to the construction of The Home. The exhibit will open to the public May 14 and run through September 4, 2011.

In partnership with this exhibit the Museum has planned a series of lectures about the Civil War. On July 10, Robert W. Arnold III, will present “Let Loose the Dogs of War, New York in the American Civil War.” On August 21, Dr. Laura Free will present “Bullets, Belles, and Bloated Bodies: The Civil War in American Popular Culture and Memory.” Other events will be announced through the summer.

Photo:A reunion of Cayuga County Civil War veterans. Courtesy Cayuga Museum.

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