Grand Opening of ‘Plowshares Into Swords’ Civil War Exhibit

Grand Opening of ‘Plowshares Into Swords’ Civil War Exhibit
To be Held at the Michigan Historical Center April 16.

Michigan DNR
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan –-( The Michigan Historical Center, its grounds and the adjacent grassy lot will be transformed into a Civil War experience on Saturday, April 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to signal the grand opening of the new “Plowshares Into Swords” exhibit.

The title is a nod to the hundreds of everyday Michiganians who left their homes and farms to fight in America’s bloodiest war. Soldiers — re-enactors from the 7th Michigan — will arrive the night before to settle in for the encampment. Spectator hours begin Saturday starting with Reveille at 9 a.m.

On the 1.5-acre green space just west of the museum, witness life from the soldier’s perspective, with the aroma of meals cooked by campfire, the sound of cannon firing and the beat of the drums as soldiers drill. You may meet President Abraham Lincoln, Michigan’s wartime Governor Austin Blair or nurse Annie Etheridge.

“There are many ways to commemorate the Civil War,” said Historical Center Director Sandra Clark. “In our new exhibit and this special event we are focusing on individual soldiers, their families and communities. We hope visitors leave with a better understanding of Michigan in the time leading up to the war and an empathy for those who fought and those who waited at home.”

Inside the museum, stroll through the “Plowshares Into Swords” exhibit and discover rich personal stories — quotes pulled from Civil War diaries and newspapers, plus artifacts — that tell of life in Michigan at the start of the Civil War. Try to decipher the sounds of the telegraph relaying news from the battlefront, and imagine what a family back home would feel, hearing the news of faraway battles.

Four of the state’s cherished Civil War battle flags will also be on display. These flags, often made and presented by local women, were source of pride and inspiration for soldiers. These rarely displayed flags are delicate and cannot be exposed to light for long periods of time. They will be rotated every three months, for a total of 16 flags displayed throughout the exhibit. The first four flags are from the First Michigan Cavalry Regiment, the First Michigan Three Months Infantry Regiment, the Second Michigan Infantry Regiment and the Third Infantry Regiment.

The exhibit runs through Feb. 5, 2012. For more information about this and other Civil War Sesquicentennial events, visit Admission and parking for this event are free.

The museum is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 West Kalamazoo Street, Lansing. The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. For more information, visit or call 517-373-3559.

An electronic press kit for the “Plowshares Into Swords” exhibit — complete with photos to download, a video and a link to a recent interview with Historian Eric Perkins — is available at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to