Moving Right Along

February 14th, 2013 by edewolfe

Lydia Colbert, Animal Behavior Major, 2013

Today in class we were divided into our working groups based on the preferences that we expressed in our proposals.  There are four themes/working groups: The Civil War; Maine in the Civil War; Women, Men, and the Home Front and Remembering the War.  I was placed in the Remembering the War group.  My team members and I came up with sub-themes to explore in the exhibit and assigned one another our subthemes.  The next step towards completing this exhibit is to research our subthemes and write a paper on each of them.  Eventually, we will turn each of these papers into a paragraph for a text panel that encompasses each subtheme.  I think that the most difficult part of this theme will be instilling Haley’s voice.  His diary does not discuss events after the war, so we will have to really focus on keeping the story about him by researching what became of him after the war.

One way to do this will be to mention his involvement in the establishment of the Saco Civil War Monument, which is located in the center of Saco.  This is part of how Maine remembers the Civil War and also encompasses John Haley’s story.  He played a large role in having the woman added to the monument to commemorate the sacrifices that were made on the home front as well as on the battlefield.  This monument is a great example of how the four themes mesh; the statue was built in memory of Maine’s contribution to the Civil War including those who enlisted and those who stayed home and kept the city functioning.

Tragic Histories

February 10th, 2013 by edewolfe

Thanh Nguyen, Pre-Pharmacy 2015

Let me start by telling you a little about myself.  I came to the United States when I was 10 years old and it took me a few years to learn the language and start understanding what was taught in class.  For the first few years I didn’t really learn much American history and even though we covered the Civil War I can’t recall much information on it.  So going into the class and doing a whole museum exhibit on the Civil War is overwhelming.  The only advantage I have is my extended knowledge of a different Civil War that occurred in my country, Vietnam.  The only history that I learned is the Vietnam War when I was living in Vietnam.  I’m not going to go into details about the war other than the fact that it was devastating and resulted in mass number of dead.  The worst thing about a Civil War is that you’re fighting the men and women of your country, “killing your own countrymen.” Through my experience with people in Vietnam that personally experienced the war, I know much of an emotional toll it is on a country.  This subject really sparks my interest and I’m really excited to see how the exhibit is going to turn out.

This week we have a huge quiz that determines whether we get to participate in building this exhibit or not, and this alone put everyone in the class on edge.  After the quiz I talked to a couple of classmates and it seem like we all did well, I’m really hoping everyone passed with a C or better and gets to work on the exhibit.  We also submitted the 1st and 2nd choices of the theme that we would like to focus and work on.  These next few weeks, untill the end of the exhibit, will be interesting because we all get to focus in one part of the exhibit and really get working on making this exhibit great.

 

The Common Soldier’s Nightmare

February 10th, 2013 by edewolfe

Will Burns, History/ Secondary Education Major, 2016

U.S history has always been a fascinating subject for me and growing up in Connecticut gave me opportunities to visit sites of the American Revolution, as well as reading letters and diaries of the minuteman fighting off British tyrants for our freedom.  However, the Civil War is a different story. Our once mighty nation was divided and for the first time in American history, brother fought against brother.

John Haley’s account of the Civil War gives us an in depth look at the common soldier’s experience. Through his journal we are able to follow his journey from the beginning of his enlistment on August 7, 1862 when Haley writes “I grew homesick for the first time in my life” to his return home on June 10, 1865 describing his experience as “a hideous dream.”

In class today we discussed women and the home front during the war, however throughout our discussion Haley’s words remained in my mind “How fortunate for the peace of mind of the women of our land that they do not know all these things. In giving their sons and brothers to such a cause how little they know what they are doing” (John Haley December 13, 1862).

I believe this exhibit will make Maine residents proud of their state’s contribution to the war and I am very happy to be a part of this project.

Hollow-eyed Monster

February 5th, 2013 by edewolfe

Sarah Hoover, Undeclared Major 2016

As I sat reading our temporary Bible, The Rebel Yell & the Yankee Hurrah, there was one particular quote that caught my eye and caused my mind to tumble into uncharted territory.  On August 19th, 1862, John Haley wrote:

“In the afternoon Reverend Lovering of Park Street Unitarian Church came out and gave us a flowery discourse in which he was pleased to inform us that ‘all who died in defense of the flag had a sure passport to heaven’. This is all very well for talk, but the Reverend evidently doesn’t care to try it on. I feel that death is one of those things to which distance lends enchantment, not withstanding Mr. Lovering’s bland audacity’s of speech and fine-spun theories, I don’t care to cultivate a closer acquaintance with the hollow-eyed monster. It never does furnish much satisfaction to listen to these cowards who talk of pluck but are so destitute of the quality themselves.”

When I first started reading The Rebel Yell, I was amazed at how much detail and thought was put into each of Haley’s passages.  If you haven’t yet read this book and want to obtain a stronger understanding of the Civil War, I strongly suggest giving it a look.  How anyone can fight a war and document almost all of it to the smallest detail is beyond me.  I often catch myself wondering how John Haley did it! I like this text because Haley questions the higher power of the church and government. I am a strong believer in freedom of speech, and here Haley exposes the hypocrisy that was taking place inAmericaduring this time.

In my opinion, incorporating this piece into our exhibit is very important.  John Haley sheds light on his opinions of the draft as well as his outlook on the Civil War.  Just in this small paragraph, readers achieve a greater perception of what soldiers experienced, as well as showing that not all soldiers shared the same views on war, government, or the church.

John Haley’s Voice

February 2nd, 2013 by edewolfe

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.