Appearances by two military re-enactment groups and an old-fashioned American brass band, as well as lectures and a film series are among activities the Toledo Museum of Art will present in conjunction with its new exhibition The American Civil War: Through Artists’ Eyes.
The focus exhibition, on view April 3-July 5 in Galleries 28 and 29, features 50 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and artifacts from the Museum’s collection and on loan from area organizations and private collectors, including the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. Of special note is Gilbert Gaul’s painting Battery H 1st Ohio Volunteers Light Artillery in Action at Cold Harbor. On loan from the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society, the massive painting portrays an artillery unit that included many northwest Ohio men in a brutal battle with soldiers of the South.
A series of related activities will be held while the exhibition is on view, starting with a free gallery talk about the show at 7 p.m. Friday, May 1, by the exhibition curator Ed Hill.
The Dodworth Saxhorn Band, billed as “America’s Premier 19th Century Band,” will perform “Songs That Made a Nation: The Civil War, 1861–1865” on May 31 on the Museum Terrace. In a salute to Ohioans who served in the Union Army, the 17 band members, dressed in period clothing and playing authentic 19th century brass instruments, will provide an old-fashioned afternoon of music, song, drama, poetry, dance and theater. The 2 p.m. concert will include such songs as “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
A daylong visit by the Fifth United States Colored Troops, a local group of African American Civil War military and civilian re-enactors, will take place on June 6. The group of eight soldiers and eight women “camp followers” will be on the Museum grounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to discuss the lives of black soldiers and the black women who followed the encampments.
On June 19 and 20, the Modern Battery H Civil War Re-enactors will be on the Museum campus and give cannon demonstrations. This Ohio-based re-enactment group represents the artillery battalion featured in Gaul’s painting displayed in the exhibition. Eighteen soldiers will be encamped on the grounds, and they will set up and demonstrate an authentic Civil War cannon.
Also on the schedule is a series of outstanding films, including the 1989 movie Glory on May 7 and a marathon showing on May 30 of “The Civil War, a Film by Ken Burns,” a Woodland Cemetery Civil War walking tour on June 11 and a lecture about northwest Ohioans who fought in the Union Army at Gettysburg by University of Toledo professor Richard Putney on June 27.
Admission to the exhibition, the programs and the Museum is free. Parking is free for Museum members and $5 for nonmembers. Following is a list of the scheduled events, which are subject to change. For more information and updates, visit toledomuseum.org.
Gallery Talk: Ed Hill on the American Civil War
May 1: 7 p.m., Galleries 28 and 29
Ed Hill, TMA curatorial assistant and curator of The American Civil War: Through Artists’ Eyes, will lead a tour of the exhibition.
Lecture: Mark Clague: More Ballads than Bullets: The Power of Song in the American Civil War
May 29: 7 p.m., Little Theater
Music was everywhere in the U.S. Civil War – on the field of battle, on the march, in camp, at political rallies, along the streets and atop the parlor piano with loved ones back at home. After the very fabric of nation had torn, lyrics and melody offered a day-to-day meditation about what it meant to be American. Out of this cacophony of voices arose the possibilities, choices, and – eventually – the patriotic path that would reunite the nation. Mark Clague, an associate a professor of musicology and director of research in the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, will discuss his research on music of the Civil War era, particularly “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which later became the national anthem. Clague’s interests center on questions of how music forges and shapes social relationships.
Fifth United States Colored Troops, African American Civil War Military and Civilian Re-enactors
June 6: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Museum Grounds
The local re-enactment group of eight soldiers and eight women “camp followers” will be on the Museum grounds to discuss with the public the lives of black soldiers and black women who followed the encampments during the U.S. Civil War.
Community Walk: Woodlawn Cemetery Civil War Tour
June 11: 6–7:30 p.m., Woodlawn Cemetery
Woodlawn Cemetery, the final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Drummond Libbey, founders of the Toledo Museum of Art, also contains the graves of numerous Civil War veterans as well as a Civil War monument.
Modern Battery H Civil War Encampment and Cannon Demonstration
June 19: 5-9 p.m., Museum Grounds
June 20: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Museum Grounds
The modern Battery H Civil War re-enacters is an Ohio-based group that represents the artillery union featured in Gilbert Gaul’s massive painting Battery H 1st Ohio Volunteers Light Artillery in Action at Cold Harbor, on loan to the Toledo Museum of Art from the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society for display in The American Civil War: Through Artists’ Eyes. The group will be encamped on the grounds and will demonstrate a restored Civil War cannon during regular Museum hours.
Lecture: Richard Putney, Remembering Gettysburg
June 27: 2 p.m., Little Theater
University of Toledo art history professor Richard Putney will describe his research on the Battle of Gettysburg, focusing on Toledo and northwest Ohio troops in the Union Army.
The Sounds of Silents Film & Live Music Series: “The General”
May 28: 7 p.m., Peristyle
Detroit organist Stephen Warner will use the Toledo Museum of Art’s historic Skinner Organ to provide accompaniment to the 1926 silent film “The General” (107 minutes), which many consider to be Buster Keaton’s greatest movie.
Great Performances in the Great Outdoors: The Dodworth Saxhorn Band, Songs that Made a Nation: The Civil War, 1861–1865
May 31: 2 p.m., Museum Terrace
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Dodworth Saxhorn Band was formed in 1985 by musical instrument collector Alexander Pollock, who modeled it after the Dodworth Band of New York City, the premiere brass band in the United States from the 1840s through the 1880s. The 17 musicians wear period costumes and use period brass instruments to present performances in the context of the social and political issues of the time period, recreating the music and atmosphere of a 19th century band. The free program features songs such as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” poetry, dance and theatre. Prior to the concert, strolling musicians will entertain the gathering audience. Afterward, the band members will be available to answer questions about their instruments and the music they perform.
June 19: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Museum Terrace
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the commemoration of Emancipation Day in Texas, the Toledo Museum of Art has invited the Clarence Smith Community Chorus of Toledo to perform. The program also will include dramatic readings of African American poetry, prose and drama.
Great Performances in the Great Gallery: Margaret Barron: American Songs
June 28: 3 p.m., Great Gallery
Soprano Margaret Barron sings a program of American songs, including Stephen Foster songs and tunes popular during the Civil War through the 20th century. Barron, a Toledo singer, educator and community organizer, will be accompanied by pianist Timothy Cheek, a member of the University of Michigan faculty.
“Lincoln,” a Film by Steven Spielberg
April 17: 6:30 p.m., Little Theater
As the Civil War rages, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Lincoln in this 2012 historical drama that also stars Sally Field as Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. (150 minutes)
May 7: 7 p.m., Little Theater
Matthew Broderick portrays Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who leads the U.S. Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of his own Union Army and the Confederates in this acclaimed 1989 movie. Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman also star in the film, which won 17 awards, including Oscars for best actor in a supporting role (Denzel Washington), best cinematography and best sound. (122 minutes)
Sunday Family Film Club: “Mysterious Island”
May 10: 2 p.m., Little Theater
In this 1951 family-friendly action adventure, a group of Civil War soldiers escape the stockade using a hot air balloon and end up on a strange Pacific island inhabited by a giant crab, giant bees and other unusual creatures. (101 minutes)
Double Feature: “The Red Badge of Courage” and “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
May 21: 7 p.m., Little Theater
“The Red Badge of Courage” (69 minutes) is the 1951 classic John Houston adaptation of the Stephen Crane novel about a Civil War Union soldier struggling to find the courage to fight in the heat of battle. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (28 minutes) is a 1962 Academy Award-winning short film based on the Ambrose Bierce story about a Southern man about to be hanged for attempting to sabotage a railway bridge during the Civil War. The execution on the bridge fails when the hangman’s rope breaks and the civilian begins his escape for home.
The Sound of Silents Film & Live Music Series: “The General”
May 28: 7 p.m., Peristyle
Detroit organist Stephen Warner will use the Toledo Museum of Art’s historic Skinner Organ to provide accompaniment to the 1926 silent film “The General,” which many consider to be Buster Keaton’s greatest movie. (107 minutes)
Marathon Film Screening: “The Civil War, a Film by Ken Burns”
May 30: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The 1990 highly acclaimed, 10½-hour documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns will be shown in its entirety (638 minutes, plus breaks). Burns uses interviews, photographs, narration and commentary by historian Shelby Foote to provide insights to the people and events of the American Civil War. Originally broadcast on PBS, the television series received two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, a People’s Choice for favorite mini-series and program of the year and outstanding achievement awards from the Television Critics Association.
July 2: 7 p.m., Little Theater
In this 1985 comedic movie written, directed and starring Ross McElwee, a film producer sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman’s destructive march through the South during the Civil War but is sidetracked by women who come and go in his life, his recurring dreams of nuclear holocaust and Burt Reynolds. The result is a witty film about self-discovery. Described by a New York Times critic as “wonderfully goofy,” the documentary won a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. (155 minutes)
Programs are subject to change. Check the Museum’s calendar for updates.