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What's Up Magazine

First Women in the Civil War Expo Weekend

Sep 23, 2011 05:33PM ● By Anonymous

Baltimore, Maryland —On Saturday and Sunday October 1st and 2nd, the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) will hold it’s first Women in the Civil War Expo Weekend with live history performances, a lecture on the fashions of the period, and a special tour of the “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War.” exhibition by the Chairman of the Society for Women and the Civil War. Hands-on demonstrations by the Baltimore Appliqué Society and scenes from a play on the Civil War performed by Baltimore School for the Arts students are also featured. To register, visit, email, or call 410-685-3750 ext. 337. Weekend admission prices are $10 per person, or $25 per family.

MdHS opened Maryland’s largest and most comprehensive Civil War exhibit in April. The impact of the war on the people of Maryland is being told in personal terms in “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War.” The largest Civil War exhibit in the museum’s 167-year history occupies over 5,000 square feet and tells the story of a tragedy in three acts: the romantic war, the real war and the long reunion.

On Saturday and Sunday the Baltimore Appliqué Society will hold hands-on demonstrations to teach attendees how to appliqué, and will use replicas of period fabric to discuss sewing, fabrics, and techniques. The society will also be speaking about the preservation of quilts, textiles, and related documents in museum and historical society collections such as the Maryland Historical Society.

The Women’s Expo runs from noon to five pm both days. The Maryland Historical Society Players will perform and lead costumed tours hourly both days with actors representing Clara Barton and Harriett Tubman.

Saturday, an hour-long tour of the exhibit will be lead by Juanita Leisch, Chairman of the Society for Women and the Civil War. Leisch is a nationally-known researcher and writer on subjects relating to civilians and the Civil War. A founder of the Annual Conference on Women and the Civil War, Leisch will offer her years of involvement with living history to share her expert knowledge with attendees.

Dramatic readings from Rebecca Davis’ diary, an actual Civil War era resident of Montgomery County will be offered by a professional actress on Saturday. Her family was sharply divided by a Union-loyal father, and neutral mother, all while being faithful to the confederate side, alongside her brother. Davis gives descriptive accounts of life on the home-front, and non-fighting civilian’s perception of the war, as well as detailed entries on life as a confederate. Davis discusses the strong sense of separation between the North and South. The diary also takes an in-depth look at issues during the war, such as high infant mortality rates, the prevalence of disease, and the importance of music to Marylanders as a comfort during troubled times.

On Sunday, the Baltimore School for the Arts will be performing a scene from Baltimore at a Crossroads: Civil War Stories. “The Flagmakers” follows a fictional group of African American women that together, create the Battle flag of the 4th Regiment United States Colored Troops. Participants will witness a scene created entirely by the students of the Baltimore School for the Arts that combine research skills, history education, and performance art. The student’s research was done at the MdHS library.

A lecture on the fashions of the Civil War period will be offered by Mary Doering on Sunday. Doering has specialized in costume history for over 40 years as a collector, lecturer, and guest curator. She teaches courses at the Smithsonian has also loaned the Maryland Historical Society four dresses that are currently on displays in the exhibit “Divided Voices: Maryland and the Civil War”.

The Maryland Historical Society was founded in 1844 and is the world’s largest museum and library dedicated to the history of Maryland. Occupying an entire city block in the Mount Vernon District of Baltimore, the society’s mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland’s diverse cultural heritage.” The society is home to the original manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled “Maryland Historical Magazine.” For more information please visit

Britt Olsen-Ecker is a member of the professional acting troupe, The Maryland Historical Society Players. She will portray Clara Barton for the Women in the Civil War Expo on October 1 and 2 at the Society.

Contact: Marc Apter
Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21201