Commemorating the Civil War in Pennsylvania

Next week is the official kickoff for Pennsylvania’s commemoration of the American Civil War, which began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter, a Federal fort in Charleston (SC) Harbor (but you know that).

An event planned for the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg (Tuesday, April 12, at 10 am) will feature Civil War military reenactors and an appearance by Thaddeus Stevens (courtesy of Pennsylvania Past Players), in addition to invited speakers First Lady Susan Corbett, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Sam Smith, and State Representative Paul Clymer. They will be joined by PHMC Executive Director Barbara Franco. PHMC and the Pennsylvania Heritage Society are key partners in Pennsylvania Civil War 150; the Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, are the other major partners.

Over the next four years, events will take place throughout the Commonwealth, as organizations large and small explore Pennsylvania’s role during this pivotal time in American history. If you know of an organization that is planning an event, encourage them to list it on the PA Civil War 150 website.

The Civil War Road Show is a signature element in the Pennsylvania commemoration. Sure, there will be lots of attention paid to the Battle of Gettysburg during the sesquicentennial, but the Road Show will visit all 67 counties to emphasize the fact that every part of the state was affected by the war in some way. The 53-foot traveling exhibit trailer will help Pennsylvanians explore the Civil War stories of their communities while learning about other people’s experiences as well. The official launch of the Road Show and the start of the 2011 tour will be May 6-8 in Pittsburgh; to see the 2011 schedule go here.

Trailheads will, of course, continue to update you periodically on the anniversary commemoration.


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