Boone County Historical Society will host a Civil War exhibit

Sunday, December 19, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 9:42 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 14, 2011
A pamphlet from the funeral of Confederate general Robert E. Lee is one of many unique artifacts destined for the under-construction Civil War exhibit at the Boone County Historical Museum.

COLUMBIA — Missouri’s 150-year-old Civil War history is about to receive the star treatment in a 15-monthlong exhibit to be hosted by the Boone County Historical Society.

Artifacts will be exhibited in the progressive format, which means its contents change every three months to represent a different year of the Civil War. 1861 will be the first year represented.


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The exhibit will include sections that showcase an officer’s daily life, the roles that African-Americans and women played in the war and a variety of artifacts.

Historian Bill Berry said the array of artifacts includes "an excellent collection of uniforms, weapons, documents and papers related to the war." Berry sits on the Society's Civil War Committee. 

Jack Chance, who is also member of the Historical Society's Civil War Committee, said Odon Guitar's coat, known as a flock, will be on display. Guitar, who attended MU and lived in Columbia, was a general in the Union Missouri State Militia. 

Performances and interactive gatherings will also be included. “We will have a number of events tied to the exhibit,” Jenifer Flink, executive director and curator of the Society, said.

One of the first events will be a Jan. 21 performance of Stephen Vincent Benet’s long-form poem "John Brown’s Body" by the Maplewood Barn Theater Group.

At the end of April, there will also likely be a re-enactment of an encampment in the yard of Union and Confederate soldiers.

Flink believes some Civil War historians have given the state short shrift and said the exhibit is important for the state because “Missouri had the third-highest number of battles in all the war.”

“People will see just how deeply Missouri was affected by the Civil War and what kind of role it played,” Flink said.

Chance stated that this exhibit is appropriate and interesting for people of all ages. "Young people are just fascinated when they are exposed to this kind of history," he said. 

The free exhibit will open at 5 p.m. Jan. 13.

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Tony Robertson December 19, 2010 | 7:39 p.m.

Glad that they are taking an active role in the sesquicentennial. Missouri often gets short shrift from Civil War historians, in spite of the fact that the state ranked third in the number of battles and skirmishes, contributed thousands of soldiers to both sides, and served as the proving ground for many leaders of both sides.

Bill Berry knows his stuff - I once told him my ancestor's regimental info, and within a week he had mailed me copies of my ancestor's muster records from the State archives. Jack Chance played a key role in the Centralia battlefield commemorations.

I wish Phil Gottschalk was still around for all this.

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