John Haley’s Voice

Max Metayer, History Major, 2015.

We’ve only been in class for a couple of weeks and we are already deep into John Haley’s Civil War. I can tell this exhibit is going to be an interesting one. We have a great mixture of students in the class from different academic backgrounds, and this is sure to lead to an exhibit that will appeal to audiences from different backgrounds.

I am confident that the exhibit will turn out great, but this doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Today in class we were reminded that this exhibit is not just a Civil War exhibit, but rather John Haley’s Civil War exhibit. We are participating in the Maine Civil War Trail this summer (check the site out if you haven’t already). This means we are not going to be the only Civil War exhibit around- far from it in fact. We should expect that a fair portion of our audience will have also been to one or more of the other exhibits.

Camille Smalley made a great point in class today when she reminded us that we should use John Haley’s own words as much as possible. This is the key to making our exhibit a unique and worthwhile part of the Maine Civil War Trail. I know I was surprised by the amount of personality John (I think its fair to call him by his first name as we are all very well acquainted with him by now) poured into his diary. Of course he was rather serious for most of the book, but he was also witty and brought some much needed comic relief to his work. I believe that one of the biggest challenges we will face will be capturing John Haley’s voice, and even his sense of humor, in the exhibit. If we can pull it off then our exhibit is sure to stand out as one of the more human stops on the trail.


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