A photo I took of the Minnesota History Center from the buildings upper level patio. It was a cold day so I was out their alone. But you can really see what a cool building it is.
Well as you may have already deduced, I grew up with a family that has always paid close attention to history. Although I didn’t develop a respect for this until I became an adult, I look back on it now with some affection. Often my parents will come to the Twin Cities and my Brother and I will accompany them to a museum exhibit, maybe at the Minnesota History Center or at the Science Museum. Weekend before last it was the Civil War exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.
Walking in my Brother made a comment about how humid it was in the room. It was quite humid, particularly for a cold day in April. He hypothesized that this was done on purpose to preserve the materials in the exhibit. Might make sense that special care would be needed for displayed materials being that they would be at least 150 years old. As I read the plaques I realized that the exhibit is primarily composed of letters written by Minnesotans fighting in the War sent to their family members back home. The title of this post was from a letter written by Albert Parker to his parents referencing the death of his brother, Samuel Parker, in the Battle of Mill Springs. The structure made the whole thing seem all that more real. It’s hard, sometimes, to come to terms with the Civil War. It’s so far removed for today and our Country has evolved in so many ways since then (some ways less than I would like). Minnesota had only been a state for 44 years when the Civil War began in 1861 and Minnesotans were the first in the Union to respond to the military call. Reading the words written by the individuals who fought in this war as well as the families who they left behind is chilling as it is humbling.
In addition to the many plaques that displayed letters the exhibit had some interactive displays. Letters between a soldier and his wife were read a loud and shadows of a man in a tent on a battlefield and a woman on the home front offered a visual aide as I sat and listened to their exchange. He spoke of how worried he was about his family facing a brutal Minnesota winter and she wrote about how worried she was about him at war. He wrote to her and said that he wished he could get a letter from her everyday, but that he knew that was a lot to ask so she should write as often as she possibly could. In the very back corner of the exhibit there was a large screen framed by an antique looking frame (shown below). It showed photos of the battlefields and the soldiers that fought on them while letters written by soldiers describing the War were read out loud. One of the memorable letters of that display was from a drummer boy who talked about the awful things he saw and how nothing could have prepared him for this War.
I thought the exhibit was fantastic and I would recommend, if you are local, that you check it out. The Minnesota Historical Society always does such a great job with their exhibits, I really commend them! Afterwards we decided to get lunch and since it was just a couple weeks after my brother’s birthday it was his choice for restaurant. He suggested The Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, but when we got there it was a half hour wait for a table. I suggested we try their new location in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. There was a more tolerable wait of 15 minutes so we stuck it out there and I’m glad we did because it was fantastic!
My attempt at an artistic photo of my Brother’s beer.
My Brother looking rather serious.
My Dad also looking serious, which is a little ridiculous being that he wrote 2 + 2 = 7 on the white board shortly before I took this photo.
So, it was a fun little Saturday with my family.
I want to take a moment and say that my thoughts are with those that were affected or had loved ones affected in the Boston Marathon bombings. I thought it best not to post yesterday after the tragic event. My graduate program is through a school in Boston and I have friends who live there or have lived there. I know what typically joyous event the Marathon is and I’m disgusted that someone would do something so incredibly awful. My faith in humanity is not shaken, however, because as I watched the videos yesterday I noticed how many were not running away but instead running towards those who were injured and helped in everyway they could. It makes me believe that there is a hero in all of us.
Thank you for stopping by!