The Bangor Public Library will receive a $1,000 grant to bring the Civil War 150 traveling exhibition to Bangor in summer 2014. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the exhibition incorporates traveling panels featuring art, photographs, and texts from 1861-1865. The exhibition encompasses many aspects of the Civil War and, according to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, provides “the public … [with] a deeper appreciation of the most transformative period in American history.”
The Gilder Lehrman Institute and The Library of America jointly developed the Civil War 150 Web site (www.gilderlehrman.org/civilwar150) as the online component of Civil War 150. The traveling exhibition is another component; when grants were offered to fund the exhibition’s appearance in various locations, Bangor Public Library Director Barbara McDade “okayed us applying for a grant,” said Bill Cook, special collections librarian.
In the grant application submitted last June, “I stressed … Bangor’s heritage during the Civil War” and that “Bangor has a lot of scholars interested in the war,” Cook said. Diane Smith, who wrote the non-fiction “Fanny and Joshua” about the famous Chamberlain family from Maine, works at the library; Smith will soon release another non-fiction book about Ulysses S. Grant, and her author husband, Ned Smith, is writing a book about the 2nd Maine Cavalry Regiment.
“A lot of the public doesn’t really know the extent to which Bangor was at the forefront,” Cook said. “The day after Fort Sumter [was fired upon], Bangor raised a[n infantry] company, at least symbolically.”
On Tuesday, July 31, McDade received an email from Susan Saidenberg at the Gilder Lehrman Institute. The email revealed that the Bangor library has been chosen to receive a $1,000 grant; the GLL had received “more than 180 applications from 44 states,” Saidenberg said. She is the director of exhibitions and public programs at the institute.
Scheduled to arrive in late June or early July 2014, the traveling exhibition will be displayed in the library’s reading room; “that’s where we have the room to put that sort of exhibit panels,” Cook said. The exhibition will be in Bangor for a few weeks; library staff will also set up exhibit cases to display local Civil War memorabilia, including the sword taken to war by Bangor’s Luther Peirce.
“We’re going to have a lot of Civil War programming,” Cook said. “Diane and will speak; Ned will speak.” Other activities will take place at the library during the exhibition, too.