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Worcester Historical Museum to Host Civil War Discussion Series

Friday, May 10, 2013

 

A famous painting of the Civil War Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history.

Worcester Historical Museum will host a scholar-lead reading and discussion series for public audiences starting on May 18 and lasting through June of 2013. Making Sense of the American Civil War is a free program, in partnership with the Worcester Public Library that provides the chance for the public to discuss and explore the complex and multi-layered issues surrounding a pivotal moment in America’s history.

This is an appropriate time for a discussion like this as the period between 2011-2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the war between the states. Historical societies and other humanities institutions across the country have been commemorating this event that changed America forever.

The Civil War: A Deeply Complex Time in American History

"Having a scholar-led reading and discussion series allows for a deeper understand and discovery of topics that the public might not have considered before. The Civil War isn’t just the North versus the South, or slave-holders against abolitionists. It is a lot more complicated and complex," says Worcester Historical Museum Librarian Robyn Christenson.

The four part series focuses on three literary works about the Civil War: March by Geraldine Brooks, Crossroads of Freedom by James McPherson and the anthology America’s War edited by Edward L. Ayers. Discussions will be led by Dr. John Anderson, associate professor of history emeritus of the College of the Holy Cross.

"Making Sense of the American Civil War is designed as a series of four conversations exploring different facets of the Civil War experience, informed by reading the words written or uttered by powerful voices from the past and present," comments Robyn Christensen.

Both A Nation-Wide and Local Enterprise

This national series, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Library Association and Mass Humanities, is happening in libraries across the country, and focuses on different perspectives of the Civil War and the varying experiences of individuals from different genders, ethnicities and backgrounds. Christensen promises to include local history in the series as well, stating,

“The discussion series will not only talk about the impact the war had on the nation, but will highlight the Worcester connections through individual actions, regimental achievements and hometown support... These books were chosen by the organizers of the nationwide series, which is why we feel it is important to connect what participants will read to local history."

The Worcester Public Library received a grant for the National Endowment for the Humanities and several other institutions to administer a public reading series at several hosting libraries within Worcester.

"When Mora McAvey, of the Worcester Public Library, approached me to have WHM as a host venue for the series it was a natural fit. The museum takes every opportunity to educate and inform the public about Worcester’s history. [It] is a perfect way for WHM to discuss Worcester’s role in the Civil War and establish its connection with a larger national context," Christensen remarks.

Those interested participants can sign up via Worcester Historical Museum’s website, www.worcesterhistory.org/civil-war-discussion, or by calling 508.753.8278. Space is limited in the series to fifty participants. Pre-registration is required for the program. Upon registration loaned copies of selected readings will be made available to participants, courtesy of the Worcester Public Library.

For more information please click here.

 

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