John Haley’s Civil War

Dr. Elizabeth De Wolfe,  Professor of History

In 1862, John W. Haley, a young man from Saco, Maine, enlisted in the 17th Maine Regiment. For thirty-three months, Haley battled the Rebels, the elements, the whims of officers, and his own challenges with health. He kept a daily journal and after the war ended, Haley expanded his short entries into a more cohesive narrative. His hope, as revealed by a note tucked into his lengthy manuscript, was that “from these pages some caring generation may find inspiration [and] better understand the cause we served, the cause of preservation of the Union of States.”

This blog will follow one inspiration borne of Haley’s chronicle: a collaborative, student-designed museum exhibit based on Haley’s Civil War experience. During the Spring 2013 semester, seventeen undergraduate students at the University of New England will read Haley’s diary, research the Civil War, and craft in its entirety — from idea to installation — a museum exhibit that tells his story. UNE’s partner in this  collaboration is the Saco (Maine) Museum which will host the exhibition during Summer 2013. In these postings, follow the progress of creating John Haley’s Civil War as students, faculty, and museum staff  blog weekly about the opportunities of collaborations, the challenges of exhibit design, and the insights — and inspiration — gained from Haley’s pages.

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