June 24, 2018
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Maine Civil War Trail explores state’s role in national conflict

By Brian Swartz, Of the Weekly Staff

Twenty-three historical societies and museums are bringing the Civil War Sesquicentennial to Maine this summer and fall as the Maine Civil War Trail officially opens at locations from the southern coast to the western mountains and the Down East coast.

Maine sent 70,000 men to save the United States, and many Maine women served as nurses or in other capacities to accomplish that same goal. The state paid a terrible price in terms of military casualties and a disrupted maritime economy.

Learn about the widespread involvement of Mainers in the Civil War by visiting:

• The Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk (www.brickstoremuseum.org), featuring “From the Kennebunks to Appomattox: The Civil War at Home and Away.” For more information, email info@brickstoremuseum.org.

• The Dyer Library-Saco Museum (dyerlibrarysacomuseum.org), featuring “John Haley’s Civil War.” Haley, a Saco resident, joined the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment, survived the war and later wrote “The Rebel Yell and Yankee Hurrah” about his experiences. For more information, email education@sacomuseum.org.

• The South Portland Historical Society (www.sphistory.org), with an exhibit emphasizing “South Portland During the Civil War.” The museum is located at Bug Light Park. For information, email sphistoricalsociety@maine.rr.com.

• The Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine (usm.maine.edu/maps/exhibitions) in Portland, with the exhibit “Torn in Two,” a traveling exhibit from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library. For information, email oml@usm.maine.edu.

• The Portland Museum of Art (www.portlandmuseum.org), featuring an excellent “Winslow Homer’s Civil War” exhibit that will open Sept. 7. For information, email info@portlandmuseum.org.

• The Maine Historical Society (www.mainememory.net) in Portland, featuring “This Rebellion: Mainers and the Civil War.” This exhibit draws upon the diaries and letters and other materials of selected Mainers, men and women, who served in some capacity during the war. For information, email info@mainehistory.org.

• The Fifth Maine Regiment Island (www.fifthmainemuseum.org) on Peaks Island in Casco Bay, featuring “The Forest City Regiment: Maine’s Fighting Fifth.” Located in a cottage constructed by 5th Maine Infantry museums, the museum is a short ferry ride from the Portland waterfront and is an excellent resource for Civil War historians. For information, email fifthmaine@juno.com.

• The Eighth Maine Regiment Association (www.eighthmaine.org), featuring “The Regiment Marches On.” The exhibit includes many items used by 8th Maine Infantry soldiers during the Civil War; survivors built the current museum in 1891. It also is located on Peaks Island. For information, email eighthmainehost@eighthmaine.com.

• The Pejepscot Historical Society (www.pejepscothistorical.org) in Brunswick has opened the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum for the season. The museum, located in Chamberlain’s former home on Main Street, includes Chamberlain family furnishings and Chamberlain military artifacts. For information, email info@pejepscothistorial.org.

• The Maine Maritime Museum (mainemaritimemuseum.org) in Bath highlights Maine’s involvement in the blockades and sea fights during the Civil War. For information, email hall@mainemaritime.org.

• The Lincoln County Historical Association (www.lincolncountryhistory.orh) in Wiscasset, once a major sea port and now a picturesque coastal village. The exhibit “And They Marched Off to War” focuses on local people during the war’s prelude and early months. For information, email Ichame2012@yahoo.com.

• The Thomaston Historical Society/Library (thomastonhistoricalsociety.com), featuring the “Civil War’s Impact on Thomaston.” For information, email katsmewo@roadrunner.com.

• The Rockland Historical Society, located in the Rockland Public Library, with the exhibit “Rockland in the Civil War.” Raised primarily in the Midcoast, the 4th Maine Infantry Regiment had a strong connection to Rockland. For information, email rocklandhistory@roadrunner.com.

• The Belfast Historical Society & Museum (www.belfastmuseum.org), featuring “The Homefront in Belfast.” The piece de resistance of this exhibit is the Civil War Flag Quilt, sewn by Belfast women in 1864 and long thought lost until reappearing a few years ago. For information, email info@belfastmuseum.org.

• The Wilson Museum (www.wilsonmuseum.org) in Castine focuses on the war’s cost with the exhibit “The John Perkins House in Mourning.” The John Perkins House has taken on funereal airs after a local soldier lost in battle has “come home” for burial; discover how families handled such tragedy during the war. For information, email staff@wilson.museum.org.

• The Bangor Museum and History Center (www.bangormuseum.org), featuring “Bullets and Bandages,” which encompasses the war’s early patriotic fervor and the price soon paid by soldiers and their families. Part of the exhibit focuses on medical care available to sick or wounded soldiers. For information, email curator@bangormuseum.org.

• The Maine Military Historical Society (www,mainemilmuseum.org), located at Camp Keyes in Augusta, offers an exhibit titled “Home Town Heroes.” The exhibit features Mainers who won the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. For information, email dave.googins@mainemilmuseum.org.

• The Maine State Museum (www.mainestatemuseum.org), offering “Conflict and Compromise: Maine Voices from the Civil War,” a detailed exhibit about the roles that Mainers played during the war. For information, email Maine.Museum@Maine.gov.

• The Stanley Museum (www.stanleymuseum.org) in Kingfield is dedicated to the Stanley brothers, inventors of the Stanley steamer and other mechanical marvels. The museum’s exhibit, “Kingfield Rebellion — Kingfield Commitment,” emphasizes the local response to the Civil War, including “a local uprising of armed draft resisters” in summer 1863. This uprising became a unique event in Maine history. For information, email maine@stanleymuseum.org.

• The Bethel Historical Society (www.bethelhistorical.org), featuring “In the Field and On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War.” The exhibit focuses on how the war affected Bethel and its residents. For information, email info@bethelhistorical.org.

• The Washburn Norlands Living History Center (www.norlands.org) in Livermore, featuring “A Living Legacy: The Amazing Amazing Washburn Family.” This exhibit highlights the Washburns, a local family whose members played important roles in Maine and the nation during the Civil War. For information, email norlands@norlands.org.

• The Rufus Porter Museum (www.rufusportermuseum.org) in Bridgton, featuring “Patriotic Art of the Civil War.” This exhibit displays Civil War period folk art. For information, email rufusportermuseum@myfairpoint.net.

• The Bridgton Historical Society (www.bridgtonhistory.org) offers the locally focused exhibit “Bridgton Goes to War.” For information, email info@bridgtonhistory.org.

For information about the Civil War Trail, go to mainecivilwartrail.org.

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