Saturday, May 21, 2011
Greenfield Village hosts 'Civil War Remembrance' this Memorial Day Weekend
Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Memorial Day weekend, at Greenfield Village during Civil War Remembrance, May 28-30. Join more than 600 re-enactors as they re-create Union, Confederate and civilian encampments, perform military tactical demonstrations and offer dramatic presentations. Admission to Greenfield Village is free with membership or $22 adults, $21 senior (62 and up) and $16 youth (5-12). Children four and under are free. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or visit www.thehenryford.org/CivilWarRemembrance.
Several summers ago I personally witnessed a Civil War reenactment at Greenfield Village. It was the first time I had ever seen such a thing, and short of an actual Civil War battlefield, I cannot think of a more appropriate setting for such an event.
Greenfield Village, in case you've never been there or heard of it, is an outdoor museum of sorts. It's a walkable community of turn-of-the-century houses and stores and barns - everything you'd expect to to find if you were sent back in time. The encampment were as authentic as you can get, and the skirmish in the field was awe-inspiring and educational at the same time. The field itself was set at the bottom of a hillside, providing a natural amphitheater for spectators.
I highly, highly recommend it, especially in light of this particular program the Village has in store for everyone.
Civil War Remembrance in Greenfield Village is one of the most comprehensive Civil War programs in the nation. Watch the smoke rise from the cannons from artillery demonstrations and listen to the rhythmic gallop of horses from the Michigan Calvary Brigade, as they charge across Walnut Grove. Also see Union and Confederate soldiers march to the beat of the drum as they drill on the Village Green. Visit the Adams Home for a re-creation 1860s funeral customs, see Michigan Civil War battle flags, relics and artifacts at the Miller School, or take a look at what people of all classes wore during this era in a fashion show on the porch of Town Hall.
At the Edison Homestead, visitors can create a souvenir ribbon rosette to show their support for the military or they can even "enlist" themselves at the recruiting office on Main Street and receive a reproduction Volunteer Enlistment paper. Smiths Creek Depot, originally from St. Claire County, will come alive as ladies inside the Depot prepare packages for the soldiers’ aid and comfort on the front lines. Some of these packages, researched from accounts and letters from the early 1860s, could include entire cooked turkeys, cakes, plum puddings and many other items sent to loved ones away at war.
Special lectures from expert historians and Michigan authors will take place throughout the weekend including a "how-to" session on researching one's Civil War ancestry with historian Dale Niesen. Hundreds of Civil War era artifacts will be also be on display, including the original Memorial Day poem, entitled “The Last Camp,” written by J. Wesley Benedict of Port Huron, Michigan, in 1872 and the Medal of Honor awarded to Captain Milton Russell.
Greenfield Village will remain open until 9 p.m. on Saturday night to host the Dodworth Saxhorn Band as they perform a variety of heartfelt and popular 19th-century music from around the time of the Civil War.
On Monday, May 30, historian William Hendricks, an Indiana native now residing in Bessimer, Alabama, will present a moving commemoration on the Village Green at 12 noon, to honor the sacrifices and achievements of all those who have bravely fought and continue to fight in defense of our great nation. For specific dates and times of all Civil War Remembrance activities, please visit our website thehenryford.org/CivilWarRemembrance.
About The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, is the world’s premier history destination and a National Historic Landmark that celebrates American history and innovation. Its mission is to provide unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation. Its purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future. Five distinct attractions at The Henry Ford captivate more than 1.5 million visitors annually: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Benson Ford Research Center and The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre. The Henry Ford is also home to Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school which educates 485 students a year on the institution’s campus and was founded in partnership with The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company and Wayne County Public Schools. For more information please visit our website thehenryford.org