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Civil War Virtual Museum Opens July 30 and 31

 Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and the Springfield-Greene County
Library District will officially launch the “Community and Conflict Virtual
Museum” with two free programs – 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30, in the Visitor
Center auditorium at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, and 2 p.m.
Sunday, July 31, in the auditorium at the Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell
Ave.

The Virtual Museum launch programs at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
and at the Library Center will include a demonstration of the Virtual
Museum site, Civil War period music by Holmes Brigade musicians, Chris
Schafer and John Stuart, and remarks by Missouri State University professor
Dr. William Piston, entitled “The Cultural Memory of Wilson’s Creek and the
Summer of 1861 Campaign in Missouri.” Original artifacts from the Park’s
collection will be available at both venues for viewing. Pre-events at 1
p.m. Sunday at the Library Center will include an outdoor Civil War camp
scene with re-enactors, black powder firing and music by the Holmes
Brigade.

The Civil War may be the most thoroughly researched conflict in U.S.
history, but the Trans-Mississippi Theater and, in particular, Missouri,
Arkansas, Kansas and the Indian Territory, have not been documented as
extensively. Until now, that is.

For the past year, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and the
Springfield-Greene County Library District employees have worked to create
a unique website and online resource entitled “The Community & Conflict
Virtual Museum” and “Trans-Mississippi Photograph Album.” The project, made
possible through a Challenge Cost Share grant funded by the National Park
Service and a donation from Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation,
is a digitized collection of Civil War-era artifacts including letters,
maps, diaries, weapons, flags, uniforms and photographs.

The site contains materials gathered from the collections of Wilson’s Creek
National Battlefield that document military and civilian activities in the
Trans-Mississippi Region during the period of 1854-1865, including the role
of soldiers, sailors, Native-Americans, African-Americans, women and
guerrillas, says Wilson’s Creek librarian Jeff Patrick.

The site, www.civilwarvirtualmuseum.org, also includes exploratory essays
on diverse topics, written by noted Civil War scholars William Piston,
William Shea and Diane Mutti Burke. The site features high-caliber scans
of documents, photographs and artifacts, “zoom” and 360-degree panning
features.

“Most importantly, the materials on the site tell us how the war affected
the people who lived in one of the most contested regions of the country,”
says Wilson’s Creek Superintendent Ted Hillmer.

For additional information, please call the park visitor center at
417-732-2662, ext. 226, or the Springfield-Greene County Library District
at 417-616-0544.

Administered by the National Park Service, Wilson’s Creek National
Battlefield preserves the site of the first major battle of the Civil War
in the West, site where the first Union general was killed in the Civil War
and evokes the rural character experienced by the combatants. Wilson’s
Creek is located 10 miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri, at the
intersection of Highway ZZ and Farm Road 182. To receive more information
call (417) 732-2662.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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