The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

We are back from an afternoon at the National Civil War Museum, which has terrific interactive displays and attempts to give a balanced picture of how the war affected all Americans -- northern and southern, rich and poor, black, white, and native. There are videotaped presentations at five points where several recurring characters explain what's going on in their lives -- a female slave, the father of her children who's run north, a northerner who opposes Lincoln, a poor southern man with a little farm, a female plantation owner, her Southern belle daughter who's been forced to marry a rich New York banker to secure a loan for her father, and three brothers from Kentucky, one of whom fought for the Union, one for the Confederacy, and one who went west to find gold. It was an interesting attempt to put human faces on the war and the kids were fascinated. I also learned more about the Confederate Navy than I'd ever seen before but perhaps that's because I was paying attention.

No photography was allowed in the exhibit area, so unfortunately I can't reproduce any of the large collection of weapons, uniforms, letters, mess kits, decks of cards, pipes, family keepsakes and all the rest on display. Because the annual recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg took place over the weekend (originally fought the first three days in July) there were a lot of Civil War buffs who'd come up to watch, so a lot of knowledgeable people to chime in when the kids asked questions. They also had recordings of soldiers' songs and some interactive exhibits. Check the web site for information if you're interested.

It was beastly hot, which made us all most willing to drive to Gaithersburg. But in the evening the menagerie came out in my in-laws' backyard.

Maximus the groundhog, incongruous among the flowers.

Han and Leia -- we saw Luke earlier -- who took turns eating and jumping on each other. Yes literally. Han looked quite excited, too.

And another picture of Han and Leia, who came within three feet of my in-laws' porch.

This is the front of the National Civil War Museum. It's brand spanking new and very nicely designed.

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