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Civil War  



For the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War the National Archives mined its unrivaled collections to reveal little known connections and stories from that tragic conflict. The resulting 6,000 square foot exhibition, Discovering the Civil War, highlights hundreds of letters, orders, maps, telegrams and photographs, illuminating the broad landscape of the War.

Discovering the Civil War also provides a rare opportunity to see one of our nation’s most iconic records. The original Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, will appear in limited engagements at each venue on the national tour (approximately six days at a six month venue).

Touch screen monitors in key sections of the exhibition give visitors access to a broad array of digitized documents for discovery. These interactive features enable visitors to use familiar technology—such as social media, tag clouds, graphic novels and educational games—to dig deeper into the stories.

Discovering the Civil War draws from the records of both the Union and the Confederacy to create an exhibition that the New York Times called “eminently fascinating,” expanding the story “in ways we had not fully appreciated.” Unlike many previous explorations of the Civil War, this exhibition does not focus on the war’s causes or battles. Instead, owing to the incredible depth of the Archives holdings, the unexpected is brought forward for close examination.

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