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Posts Tagged ‘Green Man Theatre Troupe’

I have found that some of the most interesting museums are local ones. They are set in old mansions and schoolhouses, courthouses and train depots. They tell the story of a town and it’s reflection on the world at large. They most often start as grassroots efforts to save an old home or homestead and just as often grow to become meccas of local history. Such is the case of the Elmhurst Historical Museum.

I had the privilege of attending the opening of two stellar exhibits last Friday and went back yesterday afternoon to have a closer look. As part of a year-long commemoration of the start of the American Civil War 150 years ago, two exhibits, “Letters From Home” and “Between the States, Photographs of the American Civil War of the George Eastman House Collection” will be on display at the museum until December .

“Between the States” is a traveling exhibit of facsimile photographs of Civil War soldiers, battlefields, and notables of the time. It is a small exhibit, but, worthy of a few moments of time, not only for the photographs, but, to witness how photography came into its own during the 1860’s and how it impacted war and informed those at home.

“Letter From Home” is a collaboration between the Elmhurst History Museum and the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild and it brings the reality of the Civil War home to the area. Twenty nine letters to Frederick Fischer, who served in the Civil War,  have been preserved for 150 years. They are the center point of the exhibit. They are touching, formal, instructive in the hands of the father, Henry Fischer, sad, and they are a reflection of how folks coped and communicated during the Civil War.

Local artists, members of the Guild, were invited to choose a portion of a letter and interpret it artistically. The letters are from Frederick’s family at home; his father, brothers, and even his little sister. They are all to Frederick. One other brother, Augustus, also served and, sadly, we learn of his death in battle through one of the letters.

I was moved by the words, as I was moved by the art. Photographing in the museum was not permissible, but, you can view some of the artwork and parts of letters here. I encourage you to visit the Elmhurst Historical Museum if you are near Elmhurst.

Along with the exhibit, recorded readings of the letters can be heard by members of the Green Man Theater Troupe. Be assured, they have done an excellent job in capturing the heart of the letters.

Information on the exhibit and the Elmhurst History Museum can be found at www.elmhurst.org/index.aspx?nid=620.

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