Bangor Public Library to host national exhibition on Civil War

Posted June 17, 2014, at 2:46 p.m.

BANGOR — The Bangor Public Library will host “Civil War 150,” a national traveling exhibition, on display from June 23 to July 14. Bangor Public Library is one of 50 sites nationwide selected to host the “Civil War 150” exhibition.

The Civil War was one of the most transformative periods in U.S. history. After long-simmering sectional tensions led to seven slaveholding states seceding, the ensuing political strife gave way to war in April 1861. Four years of fighting resulted in 1.5 million casualties making the Civil War the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history.

Visitors to the exhibit will experience the battle through the eyes of major political figures, soldiers, families and freedmen. By virtue of letters, personal accounts and images, viewers will learn how people grappled with the end of slavery, the nature of democracy and citizenship, the human toll of civil war, and the role of a president in wartime.

“We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Barbara McDade, library director. “Through reproductions of documents, photographs and posters, the exhibition invites visitors to learn about events that took place during the war through the eyes of individuals. Though the Civil War took place 150 years ago, people today can still identify with the thoughts and fears of ordinary citizens and soldiers, many of which reflect a humanity that is forever consistent. We hope that this will help visitors better understand the human and political costs of war.”

The Gilder Lehrman Institute developed the exhibition to mark the Civil War Sesquicentennial. “Civil War 150” is divided into five panels — The Nation Divides; 1861: The Union is Dissolved; This Cruel War; 1863: Turning Points; and The Price of Victory (1864-1865). Drawing from the Gilder Lehrman collection, each section traces major events during the Civil War.

The library will sponsor a number of free programs for the public in connection with the exhibition. Featured will be local historians and authors including Ned Smith, John Battick, Bill Cook and more.

For information, call Bill Cook, local history department of the library, at 947-8336.

Developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with The Library of America, the exhibition was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibition is part of “Civil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning through the Words of Those Who Lived It,” a major three-year project funded by the National Endowment for Humanities. The project is centered on the four-volume Library of America series “The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It.”

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