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Discovering the Civil War

For 150 years, researchers have been finding new insights in the records of the Civil War.

...and they're not finished yet!

And did we mention that you can join them?

The exhibit Discovering the Civil War, Part Two: Consequences, is open at the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, November 10, 2010 through April 17, 2011. Part One: Beginnings was on exhibit at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, April 30, 2010 – September 6, 2010.

Unlock secrets, solve mysteries, and unearth stories in this exciting new exhibit in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery. Discovering the Civil War features the most extensive display ever assembled from the National Archives’ incomparable Civil War holdings. Through unusual perspectives, seldom-seen documents, and engaging interactives, everyone from the Civil War buff to the novice can "discover" the Civil War. The exhibition is presented by the Center for the National Archives Experience and the Foundation for the National Archives.

Spring 2010 Prologue Magazine

The spring 2010 issue of Prologue, the National Archives' flagship publication, is devoted almost entirely to the Civil War and is intended to supplement the exhibit and generate more interest in it. The introduction was written for Prologue by one of the nation's pre-eminent historians, James McPherson. The issue also includes an excerpt from historian Robert Remini's new book on the Compromise of 1850, as well as articles on guerrilla warfare during the Civil War and Lincoln's relationship with his admirals. The issue is filled with photographs from the war, including many from the National Archives' vast holdings.

Exhibition Catalog

The exhibition catalog, with a foreword by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, highlights many of the little-known documents and photographs featured in Discovering the Civil War. The catalog includes essays focused on document discoveries, written by the exhibit curators, archivists from the National Archives, and other authors connected to the National Archives.

Related Archives Shop Products

In conjunction with Discovering the Civil War, the Archives Shop is offering a variety of specially developed merchandise based on the records of the National Archives. These include letter press stationary designed with details from original Civil War letterheads, a cotton paper leather journal with details from a personal war diary, mugs, notebooks and pencils using a collage design of imagery from the exhibition, a "Rebel Archives" t-shirt for men and women, postcards and magnets reproducing little known images. The Shop has Civil War-related books and gift items for children. All Archives Shop proceeds support the mission to educate, enrich, and inspire a deeper appreciation of our national heritage through the holdings of the National Archives.

Traveling Exhibit Schedule

  • May 21 - Sep 5, 2011: The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI
  • Oct 14, 2011 - Apr 29, 2012: The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX
  • Feb 12 - Sep 2, 2013: Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN

For further information about the national tour please contact Christina Rudy Smith, Chief of Exhibits, National Archives, Washington, DC.

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