As the nation observes the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Historical Society of Cecil County has mounted an informative local exhibit that examines that terrible conflict through the lens of local history. This attractive, temporary arrangement by curator Lisa Dolor opens on Saturday, April 6th at 2:00 p.m. at the Cecil County History and Genealogy Library, 135 E. Main Street, Elkton.
Taking a war in your backyard approach, it contemplates how rapidly unfolding national events tore the nation apart and deeply affected our home-front, as young men marched off to fight in distant places. Locally it created broken families as loved ones fought and died, political decisions disrupted friendships, and everyone sacrificed in so many untold ways. All of these subjects and more are examined in the exhibit and in a series of supporting programs offered in the months ahead.
Formally titled “Choose Ye this Day” the displays includes maps, photographs, diaries, letters, newspapers and local relics and artifacts that allow visitors to consider the local perspective while enhancing their personal understanding of this landmark period. Presenting multiple local perspectives, Dolor noted that the displays have been divided into four parts, telling the Cecil story about the military, political matters, home life, and religion. “We want visitors to have a better understanding of the role Cecil County played during the war,” the designer noted as the interpretations and displayed artifacts bring the conflict home.
The war in your backyard approach will enable those interested in the sesquicentennial to connect local narratives to the broader perspective of the nation’s story. At the event opening, there will be a living history performance as the old Civil War vet and Methodist Minister, the Rev. Joseph Brown of Cherry Hill travels back through time to greet visitors. Played by the Rev. Hubert Jicha of the North East United Methodist Church, who has worked with the soldiers diaries, he will share stories about service in the Union Army and time in Libby Prison. The Society is also using digital technology as it has partnered with the University of Delaware to create a virtual copy of those diaries that will also be exhibited.
The Society is pleased to share the experiences of Cecil Countians during to Civil War as it draws on original, rare materials from the period, which allows visitors to reflect on the local experiences.