Civil War Exhibit

This exhibit ended Aprl 28, 2015 
 
 
 
The Donora Historical Society and Donora Public Library, in partnership with the Senator John Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh, will be hosting a traveling exhibit -- The Civil War in Pennsylvania 1861-1865.  Starting on March 20, 2015 and running for six weeks thru April 28, 2015, and to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the conclusion of the Civil War, the exhibit will be available to the general public, school groups, and social clubs.  This 500 square foot exhibit started its journey throughout Western Pennsylvania in March 2012 and will finish in August 2015.  To give it some Mon Valley flavor, our exhibit will be supplemented with artifacts from local Civil War buffs from neighboring towns.  During this time, special events, presentations, and roundtable discussions will be scheduled.
 
The town of Donora isn't often associated with the Civil War, but then why should it?  Donora
wasn't founded until 1901, some 40 years after the war.  However, the small town that pre-dated Donora, West Columbia, and the surrounding Carol (Carroll) Township, that boasted some of Donora's founding fathers, such as Bradford Allen (155th Penna. Vol. Infantry), were indeed Civil War veterans.  Another, Mr. Adam "Daddy" Wickerham from nearby Carol Township, was a Sergeant and charter member of the Ringgold Cavalry (1847) and served throughout the war.  He fought in all 72 of the officially recorded "engagements" the cavalry took part in.  Mr. Wickerham is buried in Monongahela, but there are over 45 other Civil War veterans buried in Gilmore Cemetery in the area that is now known as Donora.
 

 

 PRESS COVERAGE

 

The Donora Historical Society and our Civil War Exhibit were featured in an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. Click on link Post-Gazette Civil War Exhibit in Donora to read the article.

 

The Donora Historical Society and our Civil War Exhibit were featured in an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper Mon Valley Section.  Click on link Tribune-Review Civil Exhibit in Donora to read the article.
 
 
 
The Donora Historical Society and our Civil War Exhibit were featured in an article in the Washington Observer-Reporter newspaper. Click on link Observer-Reporter Civil Exhibit in Donora to read the article.

 

The Donora Historical Society and our Civil War Exhibit - Opening Night Reception were featured in an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper Neighborhood Section. Click on link Tribune-Review Civil Exhibit in Donora to read the article.
 
 
The Donora Historical Society and our Civil War Exhibit were featured in an article in the Washington Observer-Reporter newspaper about the Ringgold Cavalry and other local veterans. Click on link Observer-Reporter Civil Exhibit - Ringgold Cavalry to read the article.
 


AWARDS

The Donora Historical Society's success with the Civil War Exhibit, along with the other Western Pennsylvania historical societies that also hosted the exhibit, contributed to the Heinz History Center receiving an award from the American Association for State and Local History.  Click on link 2015 Award of Merit to read about the award.

 


The Civil War Exhibit in Donora - BY THE NUMBERS

 Total Years since the Civil War 150
 Total Weeks of the exhibit  6
 Total Days of the exhibit - open and closed 40
 Total Days the exhibit was open for viewing 31
 Total Days hosting school groups  10
 Total Hours of the exhibit  145
 Total Hours spent hosting school groups 26
 Total number of school groups - Grades 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th , special needs, and home schooled 17
 Total number of students, teachers and chaperones  467
 Total number of officially signed Guests 895
 Total number of unofficial Guests  1,000+
 Total number of Presentations Days 7
 Total Musical Groups - Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray 1
 Total number of Presentations 21
 Total number of Presenters 23
 Total Re-enactment and Living History groups 6
 Total Number of local historical societies involved – Donora, Monongahela, Monessen, Rostraver and Brownsville 5
 Total Number of newspaper articles = 6 – 1 in PG, 2 in Trib, 2 in OR, 1 in SH Messenger 6

 


 
SLAVERY. ABOLITION. STATES RIGHTS. THE UNION.
 
While the battles that determined the fate of the Union were not fought in this region, no life went untouched by the conflict in this region, no life went untouched by the conflict.  As the "Arsenal of the Union," Western Pennsylvania provided both the industrial might and the infantrymen that brought victory to the North.
 
In fact, the Commonwealth's greatest resource might have been its citizens -- more than 340,000 Pennsylvanians, including 8,600 black troops, served in the Union Army, a number second only to New York state.  Pennsylvania played a critical role in the war providing industrial might, agricultural bounty, and natural resources
 
Those on the home front raised funds to support troops on the field, on the move, and in hospitals.  Women took over running the family farm, providing car packages, wrote letters with news from home, and offered prayers for spiritual support.  Over 80% of the iron used by the Union came from Pennsylvania and it was fashioned into railroad rails, artillery, and ammunition.  The fertile Cumberland Valley provided flour and meat to fee troops.  And nearly all of the coal used for fuel came from Pennsylvania mines.  The war touched every Pennsylvanian's life.
 


THE EXHIBIT

The Civil War in Pennsylvania will feature four life-size historic figures, plus Dog Jack, along with modular panels describing Pennsylvania's contributions to the Civil War.
 
Also included in the exhibit are curriculum materials that meet Pennsylvania and U.S. social studies standards, and other hands-on educational objects, such as replicas of historic items, for students to explore.
 
Three of the historic figures and Dog Jack represented in the exhibition are:
 
 
STRONG VINCENT
  
Born in Erie and a graduate of Harvard, Strong Vincent was a young attorney when he enlisted in the Union Army in 1861.  In the fierce battle on Little Round Top, Vincent rallied flagging troops with the shout, "Don't give an inch!"  A moment later he was struck by a bullet and mortally wounded.
 
 
MARTIN DELANY
 
One of the first blacks admitted to Harvard Medical School, Delany, who lived in Pittsburgh most of his life, was a practicing physician as well as an ardent abolitionist.  In 1863, Delany began recruiting African American men as soldiers, many of whom joined the newly formed United States Colored Troops.  Commissioned a major, Delany became the highest ranking African American in the Civil War.
 
WOMEN AND THE WAR
 
Young women such as Tillie Pierce (pictured) and Allegheny Arsenal worker Kate McBride contributed mightily to the Civil War.  When troops turned her hometown into a bloody battlefield Tillie hauled water, tore cloth into bandages, and comforted the sick and dying.  Kate McBride and other teenage girls toiled at the Arsenal making thousands of cartridges until the tragic day when an explosion killed more than 70 of them.
 
 
DOG JACK
 
Starting as the mascot of a firehouse in Pittsburgh, Jack “enlisted,” along with most of the firemen in the 102nd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment. Jack remained with the regiment from 1861 through 1864 as their mascot, except for six months as a prisoner of war.  His incarceration ended when he was exchanged for a Confederate soldier.
 

 
THE EXHIBIT
 
The exhibit's modular panels will cover a variety of topics, all told from a Western Pennsylvania perspective, including:
 
On the Field of Battle -- Why They Fought  Although slavery was the root cause of the Civil War, most northern soldiers fought to preserve the Union, not to free the slaves.  Energized by President Lincoln's patriotic rhetoric, early enlistees rallied around appeals such as "Crush the Rebellion," and "Do You Love Your Country?"  in 1863, however, Lincoln's issued the Emancipation Proclamation transforming the conflict from a war to preserve the Union to a war committed to ending the institution of slavery.  Following Lincoln's example, many Union soldiers also became convinced that the defeat of the Confederacy would also require an end to slavery.

Toiling on the Home Front  The Union Army required a vast support system to wage the war. Troops needed artillery, guns and ammunition, food, clothing, and medical supplies. On the home front, men worked in foundries making iron for armaments of every kind. Women and children manufactured solid shot, explosive shells, and shrapnel-filled case shot. Prominent business men and society women held fund raisers to finance medical care for soldiers. There was a place for nearly every citizen to support troops in the field.

Compassion On and Off the Field  The war touched nearly every individual and many women sought ways to connect more personally with soldiers.  Traditionally feminine roles such as family care giver, cook, and comforter trained women to provide for needs that the government and industry simply could not supply.  Women volunteered as nurses in hospitals and their own homes, provided food for soldiers on the march, and wrote letters of support to loved ones.

Battle of Gettysburg  In 1863, after the Confederate victory at Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee planned his second invasion of the North.  Moving his troops into Pennsylvania’s rich farmland would provide much needed supplies for his army, give battle ravaged Virginia the summer to recover, and draw Union forces away from Washington D.C.  In late June, Lee’s men entered central Pennsylvania and marched through Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Carlisle before turning south and encountering the Union Army at Gettysburg. The three-day battle that followed was the bloodiest of the Civil War. Pickett’s Charge, meant to be the beginning of a Confederate sweep toward Washington D.C., became a decisive defeat and ended Lee’s campaign in Pennsylvania. This northernmost battle of the War, fought on Pennsylvania soil, became a pivotal moment in the nation’s history.

The Civil War in Pennsylvania exhibit is grounded in the recent scholarship developed out of the statewide Pennsylvania Civil War 150 collaboration. Noted American historians, including Ed Ayres, William Blair, Judy Geisberg, James Horton, and Elizabeth Leonard, have participated in  all phases of Pennsylvania Civil War 150.


 

 
DATES:               March 20, 2015 thru April 28, 2015
TIME:                   Sunday - CLOSED
                             Monday - CLOSED (subject to change)
                             Tuesday thru Friday - 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. -
                                  plus additional evening hours for special events - see the schedule below.
                             Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - except for April 4th - closing at 2:00 p.m.
                             Or by appointment for groups - please schedule ahead
VENUE:                Donora Public Library - Community Room - lower level
                             510 Meldon Avenue
                             Donora, PA 15033
ADMISSION:       Suggest donation -
                                Adults over 16 years old - $3.00
                                Children and Teens from 6 to 16 years old - $2.00
                                Children 5 years old and under - FREE
                                School groups and Teachers - FREE
                                Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops - FREE
                             All donations benefit the Donora Historical Society and the Donora Public Library
                             NOTE:  Specific events and presentations carry a different suggested donation. of $5.00
SPONSORSHIP: All sponsorship proceeds benefit the Donora Historical Society and the Donora Public Library
PARKING:           Parking is free on Meldon and McKean Avenue - handicapped parking is available in the
                             library parking lot.
QUESTIONS:      Please email or call with any additional questions or to schedule your group.
CONTACT:         Email: donorahistoricalsociety@gmail.com
                            Phone and Message Center: 724 - 823 - 0364 - Donora Historical Society
 

 
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
 
 DAY DATE TIME EVENT

Friday

GRAND OPENING

March 20

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

GRAND OPENING reception:

Featuring:  Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray - traditional Civil War era music    

PLEASE RSVP

CD's for sale - refreshments

Saturday

March 21

11:00 a.m.

 

 11:45 a.m.

 

     ------

1:00 p.m.

1:45 p.m.

"Local Veterans of the War of the Rebellion and the Ringgold Cavalry" - Brian Charlton - Donora Historical Society

"The Forgotten Veterans of the Gilmore Cemetery" - Kerry Jo Green - Cal U student and Donora Historical Society representative

                           --------------

"Field Artillery of the Civil War" and "The Battle of Five Forks, VA" - Eric Wible - collector, historian and re-enactor (11th P.V.I. Co. I)

Thursday

March 26

7:00 p.m.

"A World of Turmoil: Women in the Civil War" and book signing - "The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War" - Dr. Clarissa Confer - Cal U History professor - Women's History Month event

Saturday

March 28

 10:30 a.m.

 

    -------

11:00 a.m.

 

 

     -------

1:00 p.m.

Living History Event - "Tillie Pierce" - Kerry Jo Green - Cal U student and Donora Historical Society representative

                           --------------

"Pvt. James Allison - Three Years with the 140th P.V.I." - Stuart Boyd - Rostraver Historical Society

                           --------------

"Waiting for Jacob:  A Civil War Story" - Dr. Ed Hogan - reading and book signing

Friday

April 3

 n/a

Good Friday - CLOSED

Saturday

April 4

 

11:00 a.m.

allow 2 hours

EASTER  Saturday - closing at 2:00 p.m.

Living History Event - "Civil War Artillery" - Knaps Pennsylvania Independent Battery E - educational and reenactment group - James Sims

 Saturday

April 11

11:00 a.m.

 

-------

1:00 p.m. 

2:00 p.m.

"Civil War Railroads" - Gary Strelick - Monessen Historical Society and Railroad Enthusiast

                           --------------

Living History Presentation and "Gettysburg -  The Battle That Changed the War"- 40th Penna 11th Reserve Co. F Infantry - educational and reenactment group 

Saturday

April 18

10:30 a.m.

 

 -------

11:00 a.m.

 

 

 -------

1:00 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

Living History Event - "Kate McBride" - Kerry Jo Green - Cal U student and Donora Historical Society representative

                           --------------

"Civil War Veterans buried in the Monongahela Cemetery - GAR Burial Plot" - Charlie Talbert - Monongahela Historical Society

                           --------------

"Lee's Greatest Victory, Lee's Greatest Defeat:  The Battle of Chancellorsville" and "Gettysburg Off the Beaten Path" - Kristopher White - Civil War historian and former Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Ranger

Saturday

GRAND FINALE

April 25

10:00 a.m.

 

 

     -------

10:00 a.m.

 

-------

11:00 a.m.

11:30 a.m.

 

 

-------

1:00 p.m

 

.

2:15 p.m.

Civil War Relic Identification and Authentication and Show-and-Tell - Walter Seal and Ross Farmer - collectors and historians - fee $3/relic

                           --------------

Display by Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic

                           --------------

History Day student presentations on the Civil War - Belle Vernon students

"The Life of Henry A. Wise -- Virginia Governor, Confederate General, and W&J Graduate"Travis Landenwitsch - Cal U grad and Donora Historical Society rep

                           --------------

"Looking 1864:  Union Uniforms and Equipment in the Civil War" - Christopher Sedlak - Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

"A Brief History of the Grand Army of the Republic and Sons of Unions Veterans of the Civil War" - Jonathan Stiffy  - Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Tuesday

April 28

 

Last Day of Exhibit - normal hours

 
NOTE:  In general, Saturday presentations will occur from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and then again from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The noon hour will be available to get lunch.  Two merchants are within walking distance:
    Anthony's Italiano - around the block on McKean Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets
                                   - pizza and sandwiches
    Station - 1.5 blocks away on Meldon Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets
                 - breakfast and coffee, soups and sandwiches, drinks and convenience
 

 
LARGE GROUP BLACK OUT DAYS and TIMES:
 
Below is a schedule of when larger groups have reserved the exhibit for their own special events, meaning these times will be unavailable (BLACKED OUT) to the general public:
 
DAY DATE TIME EVENT

Monday

March 23      (kg)

11 am to 1 pm

LARGE GROUP (60)

Tuesday

March 24      (fb)

11 am to 1 pm

LARGE GROUP (60)

Wednesday

March 25      (kg)

11 am to 1 pm

LARGE GROUP (60)

Thursday

March 26      (fb)

11 am to 1 pm

LARGE GROUP (60)

Monday

March 30

9 to 11 a.m.

12 to 1:30 pm

LARGE GROUP (30)

LARGE GROUP (35)

Tuesday

March 31       (fb)

                      (kg)

9 to 11 a.m.

12 to 1:30 pm

LARGE GROUP (30)

LARGE GROUP (35)

Wednesday

April 1            (rb)

                      (eo)

9 to 11 a.m.

12 to 1:30 pm

LARGE GROUP (30)

LARGE GROUP (35)

Thursday

April 2            (fb)

9 to 11 a.m.

LARGE GROUP (30)

Monday

April 6

9 to 11 a.m.

 LARGE GROUP (30)

 
NOTE:  If you would like to hold your own special event or tour for a larger group, please RSVP your date and time ASAP.
 
 

 
These are images from our 2015 Civil War exhibit:
 
OUR EXHIBIT:
 
The General Strong Vincent display as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Martin Delany display as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library.  The Dog Jack display is to the lower right.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Tillie Pierce display as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The 
Kate McBride of the Allegheny Arsenal display as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library.  A Civil War canon ball display is to the left. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
OUR LOCALLY COLLECTED ARTIFACTS:
 
The Central display case as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library.  The display case featured locally loaned Civil War artifacts. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Central display case as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. The display case featured locally loaned Civil War artifacts.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The central display case as part of the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. The display case featured locally loaned Civil War artifacts. Three Civil War reunion ribbons were featured from Donora, Monongahela and Fredricktown, PA.
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
OPENING NIGHT MUSICAL GROUP:
 
The Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray played traditional Civil War era music during the Grand Opening Reception on Friday evening, March 20, 2015.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
LIVING HISTORY DEMONSTRATIONS:
 
Eric Wiblecollector, historian and re-enactor (11th P.V.I. Co. I) presented "The Battle of Five Forks, VA" and "Field Artillery of the Civil War."  In the picture to the left, Wible is showing the audience his GAR artifact collection.  Wible was also instrumental in loaning many of the artifacts featured in the central display case in pictures shown above.  Wible was a key contributor in helping the Donora Historical Society organize this exhibit.
 
  
 
Members of the 40th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry living history group from Brownsville, PA presented "Gettysburg - The Battle That Changed the War" as well as a living history demonstration.  They also helped provide living history demonstrations for our visiting school groups (see pictures below.)

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Harriett Tubman living history impersonator (Loretta Cunningham) from the Monessen Historical Society was on hand during a presentation on "Civil War Railroads" by Gary Strelick of the Monessen Historical Society.  She recounted the life of her character for the audience.  Members of the 40th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry living history group from Brownsville, PA are lined up in the background.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Living history demonstration items on display for the audience by members of the 40th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry living history group from Brownsville, PA.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
SCHOOL GROUPS:
 
Ringgold Middle School students tour the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. These students were some of a over 467 students who would visit the exhibit over the first 2.5 weeks of the exhibit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Ringgold Middle School students tour the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. The students were completing a scavenger hunt as part of their activities. Other activities included a Ringgold Cavalry overview and a living history demostration.
  
 
 
 
 
 
Ringgold Middle School students tour the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. The students were completing a scavenger hunt as part of their activities. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ringgold Middle School students listen to an overview on the Ringgold Cavalry (the school's namesake) by Donora Historical Society volunteer Nancy Charlton in the presentation area next to the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ringgold Middle School students tour the Heinz History Center's travelling Civil War exhibit on display in the lower level Community Room of the Donora Public library. The students were completing a scavenger hunt as part of their activities.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SPONSORS:
 
The following businesses and individuals helped fund the exhibit, additional presentations and events:
 
  BeeBee Electric Service (Steel level donor - business) - Donora, PA
 
  Alan Benyak (Silver level donor - individual) - Donora, PA 
 
  Colgan Agency, Inc. (Silver level donor - business) - Donora, PA
 
  John Cupper (Gold level donor - individual) - Donora, PA
 
  Eastern Alloy Inc. (Bronze level donor - business) - Donora, PA
 
  FirstEnergy Foundation (Gold level donor - business) - Pittsburgh, PA
 
  Richard Gaydos (Gold level donor - individual) - Donora, PA
 
  Jack and Nancy Rumora (Silver level donor - individual) - Ashtabula, OH
 
  Mary Smith (Silver level donor - individual) - Donora, PA
 
  Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stacey (Silver level donor - individual) - Donora, PA
 
 
NOTE:  All sponsorship proceeds benefit the Donora Historical Society and the Donora Public Library for expenses and stipends incurred while holding this exhibit.
 

  
SCHEDULE OF THE TRAVELING EXHIBIT - The Civil War in Pennsylvania
 
This is where the Heinz History Center traveling exhibit has been and where it's going:
  • Beaver Area Heritage Museum - April 2012
  • Vandergrift - May 2012
  • Fayette County Historical Society - June 2012
  • Chartiers-Houston Community Library - July 2012
  • Erie County Historical Society - August 2012
  • Donald R. Lobaugh Military Museum - September 2012
  • Jefferson County History Center - October 2012
  • Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls - November 2012
  • Bedford County Historical Society - December 2012
  • Johnstown Area Heritage Association - January 2013
  • Lawrence County Historical Society - March to February 2013
  • Butler County Historical Society - April 2013
  • Beaver County Historical RESEARCH - May 2013
  • Heinz History Center - May 2013 to February 2014
  • Allegheny Foothills Historical Society - February 2014
  • McKeesport Heritage CENTER - March 2014
  • Depreciation Lands Museum - April 2014
  • Ellwood City AREA Historical Society - May 2014
  • Somerset Historical CENTER - June to July 2014
  • Crawford County Civil War Round Table - August 2014
  • West Overton Museums - September 2014
  • Greene County Historical Society - October 2014
  • Blair County Historical Society - November 2014
  • Warren County Historical Society - December 2014
  • Historic Harmony Inc. - January 2015
  • St. Vincent College - February to March 2015
  • Donora Historical Society - March to April 2015
  • Bedford County Historical Society - May 2015
  • Butler County Historical Society - August 2015