Press Preview For National Archives Civil War Exhibit
Press Release · Monday, March 22, 2010

"Discovering the Civil War" launches City’s Sesquicentennial Commemoration

WHAT: A special press only “sneak preview” featuring Ken Burns, to launch the National Archives new major exhibition marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, “Discovering the Civil War.” The National Archives will peel back 150 years of accumulated analysis, interpretation, and opinion to reveal a Civil War that is little-known and even more rarely displayed in a new exhibition in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. RSVPs requested, e-mail: The exhibition is presented by the Center for the National Archives Experience and the Foundation for the National Archives.

Discovering the Civil War offers visitors the chance to join researchers in unlocking secrets, solving mysteries, and uncovering unexpected events in Civil War records of the National Archives. The exhibition features letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts, patents, amendments, and proclamations.

This exhibition is unconventional in every way. It combines these great treasures with engaging touch-screen interactives incorporating social media tools in a physical environment inspired by 21st Century research rooms. Rather than trying to recreate 1860, these interactives let visitors see the war through the lens of 2010 technology. Passing over the traditional chronological approach, the exhibition is arranged by such themes as, “Spies and Conspiracies,” “Prisoners and Casualties,” “Emancipation,” “Global War,” and “Raising Armies.”

WHO: Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
Award-winning The Civil War Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns
Director of the Center for the National Archives Experience Marvin Pinkert

WHERE: The Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
Please use the 700 Pennsylvania, Avenue, NW entrance.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
11 a.m.: lunch
11:45 a.m.: remarks
Noon: exhibit tours

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will be shown in two parts in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Part I: “Beginnings” opens April 30, 2010 and runs through September 6, 2010. Part II: “Consequences” opens November 10, 2010 and runs through April 17, 2011.

Following its Washington, DC, premier, Discovering the Civil War will travel throughout the country to venues including: The Henry Ford, Dearborn, MI (Summer 2011); The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX (Fall 2011 through Winter 2012); The Durham Museum, Omaha, NE (Fall 2013).


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For more information about Discovering the Civil War or to obtain images of items included in the exhibition, call the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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