Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Civil War Lecture Series this May

by Whitney Fehl Birkett

In May, CCHS will be hosting The Blue and the Grey, our annual lecture series on all things Civil War.  The series takes place every Thursday evening at 7:00 pm and is free and open to the public.  So stop on by!  We have some intriguing stories with excellent speakers to tell them.  We’ll even throw in some snacks!

As the Weekend Gallery Attendant, I don’t usually get involved with the behind the scenes stuff here at the museum.  I’ve entered some historic death and burial information and filled in for the Archivist a time or two, but for the most part I open and close the museum, greet visitors, and run the gift shop.  You can come in on Saturdays and say hello.
So naturally, I was thrilled to be asked to set up the May lecture series.  I have a master’s degree in museum studies and am particularly interested in Civil War history.  It was time to put my skills to the test.

Setting up a lecture series isn’t glamorous.  I don’t have any stories to tell you about pretending to shoot a Civil War era rifle or traveling into the mysterious collections room (see Adventures of anIntern, Part One).  I made a lot of phone calls and wrote a lot of emails.  But in the process, I got to know some incredibly knowledgeable people who are dedicated to sharing the history they love.  They made my task so easy I feel like a bit of a sham taking all this credit.  A few exciting opportunities fell through (the experiences of Native Americans during the war, or Civil War music for example), but they were quickly replaced with equally fascinating presenters.  Like Bob Roe, who will be talking about a Confederate scout and sharpshooter who witnessed some of the most significant events in the war, from the first shots on Fort Sumter to General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House.  I couldn’t have asked for a better range of topics, and I can’t wait to hear the lectures.
Confederate soldier Berry Benson
For more information, call (607) 734-4167, email cchs@chemungvalleymuseum.org, or visit the museum website at www.chemungvalleymuseum.org.  I’m also in the process of sending out flyers and press releases, so look for the lecture series in the paper, on TV, and on the radio!

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