‘Difficult subject’: Hayes exhibit explores how the Civil War is remembered
FREMONT — For 160 years, the United States has been uncertain about how best to remember the Civil War.
Each generation has dealt with the legacy of war in its own way, often reflecting its own values and experiences.
As the debate continues over how to remember this difficult subject, the latest special exhibit from the Hayes Presidential Library and Museums will provide the often-overlooked story of how people chose and still choose to remember the civil war.
“Mustering Memory: 160 Years of Saluting the Civil War” opens to the public on April 14.
From the elderly veterans who marched on the fields of Gettysburg for its 50th anniversary in 1913, to modern enthusiasts who use their vacation time to relive famous battles or browse displays of Civil War antiques, this exhibit provides context on the memory of the Civil War and ideas for those interested in engaging with it today.
“How we remember the Civil War has been and continues to be a difficult subject. It deals with issues of race and patriotism, as well as history and heritage,” said Kevin Moore, curator of artifacts at Hayes Presidential.” Our hope is that visitors to ‘Mustering Memory’ will leave with a better understanding of how past generations, beginning with Civil War veterans themselves, have tried to understand and commemorate this pivotal event.”
Artifacts that will be on display include Civil War medals from President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady Lucy Hayes, as well as medals from other Civil War veterans. The Lucy Hayes Medal was from the Women’s Relief Corps and honored her for her work caring for wounded soldiers, repairing their uniforms, and providing other forms of support.
“Mustering Memory” will feature articles from President Hayes, including his work as president of the Military Order of the Loyal United States Legion, an organization that began as a group of Civil War veterans from The union. It will feature Civil War manuscripts and artifacts from the Hayes Presidential collections.
The exhibit will also share information about Civil War reenactment and collecting Civil War artifacts and memorabilia.
“People interested in history continue to remember the Civil War in different ways, many of which can be both educational and a lot of fun,” Moore said. “We want to inform visitors of the activities that exist today and direct them to resources in case they want to get involved.”
“Mustering Memory” will be open during normal museum hours, available at rbhayes.org. Members are admitted free of charge. For non-members, access to the exhibition is included in regular admission.
The Hayes Presidential Library and Museums is the first American presidential library and the precursor to the federal presidential library system. It is partially funded by the State of Ohio and affiliated with the Ohio History Connection. The Presidential Library and the Hayes Museums are located in Spiegel Grove at the corner of Hayes and Buckland Avenues.
For information, call 419-332-2081 or visit rbhayes.org.