June 20, 2013

150 Years of Gettysburg History: An Event Round-Up

  • By: Katherine Flynn

This monument to New York’s Excelsior Brigade sits south of Gettysburg on Excelsior Field. Credit: fauxto_digit, Flickr
This monument to New York’s Excelsior Brigade sits south of Gettysburg on Excelsior Field.

This summer will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest and most storied conflict of the Civil War. You can read all about the effort to preserve battlefield monuments in the Summer 2013 issue of Preservation magazine, but for a round-up of sesquicentennial events for both weathered history buffs and newbies to learn from and enjoy, look no further than this list.

The Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park are hosting the events at the battlefield throughout the summer to commemorate the battle, the Civil War, and the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Sacred Trust Talks and Book Signings: 150 Years of History

A series of one-hour talks from notable Civil War authors and scholars, followed by book signings, will be held on the front lawn of the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg. Speakers include James McPherson, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Harold Holzer, among others. Free.

Where: In the tent on the front lawn of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center; book signings inside the Visitor Center Lobby.
When: June 29-30 and July 5-7, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Book signings until 5:30 p.m.)

“Gettysburg: A New Birth of Freedom” Commemorative NPS Ceremony

A commemorative National Park Service Ceremony on the evening of June 30 will feature music, a keynote address by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and “Voices of History,” a dramatic reading of soldiers’ and civilians’ eyewitness accounts of the battle. The ceremony ends with a procession to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. No ticket required, free.

Where: Outdoor stage near Meade’s headquarters at Gettysburg National Military Park.
When: June 30. Musical prelude starts at 7:30 p.m. Ceremony runs from 8 to 9 p.m., and cemetery procession runs from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

A historic map of the Gettysburg battlefield. Credit: roberthuffstutter, Flickr
A historic map of the Gettysburg battlefield

Salute to the States: Gettysburg Foundation Commemorative Event

Attendees are encouraged to wear period or cocktail attire to this evening event featuring Civil War-era ballroom dancing, living history performances by Confederate and Union generals, a question-and-answer session with historian Harold Holzer, and signature cuisine from various regions of the U.S. $100 per individual ticket.

Where: Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center
When: July 1, 7 p.m.—midnight

Treasures of the Civil War Exhibit

The Treasures of the Civil War exhibit showcases 13 of the greatest leaders during the war, including Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, George Pickett, and Frederick Douglass. Many of the artifacts displayed have never before been exhibited at Gettysburg and come from Civil War collections throughout the U.S. The fee to view the exhibit is included in the museum admission fee: $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for youth ages 6 through 12; or an exhibit-only ticket may be purchased for $8 for adults and $6 for youth.

Where: Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center
When: Opens June 16

Voices of Battle: The Aftermath of Battle Programs

These 45-minute staged programs, running from July 1 to July 4, will feature historians dramatically bringing to life eyewitness accounts of soldiers and civilians at the Battle of Gettysburg. Free.

Where: The stage north of Meade’s Headquarters.
When: July 1 – July 4, 7:30 p.m.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.


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