Alford, Kenneth D. Civil War Museum Treasures: Outstanding Artifacts and the Stories Behind Them.

Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008.

Most Civil War “tour guides” concentrate on battlefields and postwar monuments, but this one focuses on museums with significant collections of material remains associated with the war. However, it’s really just a sampling and leaves out a great many repositories worth knowing about.

It also includes a scattering of postwar or “home front” artifacts, and ignores many of the most important ones. Illinois, for instance, has a huge number of museum items (many of them associated with Lincoln, of course), but the only things Alford mentions are one sword and one watercolor by a POW. Louisiana (which has any number of local historical societies and museums) rates only a picture of the State Museum’s “submarine” — which is widely regarded as not really connected with the war anyway. And nowhere is the amazing collection at Carlisle Barracks mentioned in the chapter on Pennsylvania.

It’s a very hit-or-miss volume, apparently based on what various institutions to whom the author (a retired banker) wrote responded with — if they responded at all — and redeemed by the fact that many (perhaps most) are items that most of us were unaware existed.

Published in: on 15 April 2015 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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