Ethnic Heritage Museum unveils Civil War exhibit

Ethnic Heritage Museum unveils Civil War exhibit

By David Ruffin, Assistant Curator, Ethnic Heritage Museum

The Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St. in Rockford, will unveil its Civil War exhibit from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9.

Gene Wright of Savanna, Ill., has loaned the museum seven mannequins dressed in authentic Civil War uniforms complete with Civil War weapons. The mannequins include a young private from the Corps D’ Afrique, Sgt. William Harvey Carney from the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a soldier from the First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment, a Black Confederate soldier and Harriet Tubman. Two Irish Civil War soldiers will be on display in the Irish Gallery.

Wright, a former history teacher, started making Civil War mannequins for classroom use more than 20 years ago. He currently has more than 65 human mannequins, three horses and one chicken in his collection.

The Italian Gallery will feature Feste di Primavera, which showcases the Carnevale, a St. Joseph display and an exhibit in palm weaving.

At 3 p.m. Feb. 9, Charlyne Blatcher-Martin will present a theatrical presentation of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, directed by Charles Matlock, Auburn High School drama teacher.

Blatcher-Martin has lived, worked and volunteered in Rockford most of her life. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America (New York), Chicago Dramatists and the Theatre Communication Group. Blatcher-Martin is the creator and host of “Something to Talk About,” a show presented through public access programming on Insight Communication Channel 17.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, from 2-4 p.m., the museum will honor the Buffalo Soldier. At 3 p.m., the museum will present Bravery and Courage: the Buffalo Soldier, a play written by Blatcher-Martin and directed by Matlock. The African American Gallery will be displaying the Buffalo Soldier uniform worn by Freda Williams’ grandfather. Freda Williams is the grandmother of Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child fame.

The displays will be on exhibit through March 10. both events are free to members. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children under 12. The museum is handicap accessible. Tours can be arranged by contacting the Ethnic Heritage Museum at 962-7402.

Events for 2003

Feb. 9—More Underground Railroad

Feb. 22—Black History Month Celebration

March 8—Women’s History Month, Luncheon with Dr. Margaret Burroughs at Cliffbreakers

March 16—Irish Musical Celebration of St. Paddy’s Day

May TBA—Ukrainian Folk Music

June 1—Annual International Music Festival

July and August—Summertime Fun Tours

Sept. 21—Honoring Local Business

Oct. 12—Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Nov. 9—Honoring Our Armed Forces

Dec. 6-7—Annual Celebration of Holidays Tradition

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