An exciting traveling exhibit has made its way into the Parkland.
Saturday marked the first day for the “A State Divided - The Civil War in Missouri” museum to be open. Located at 3 N. Jefferson St. in Farmington, the exhibit looks at Missouri’s presence in the war that divided a nation.
Hosted by the Farmington Public Library and working in conjunction with the Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Humanities Council, the traveling exhibit will be in town through Jan. 11.
The exhibit has been traveling around the state since 2012. It tells the stories of Missourians during the defining conflict of the country.
Although the exhibit is designed to be mobile, it is no small undertaking for the library to supervise. The display divides the war into four major categories: “Introduction and Traditional War,” “Divided Loyalties,” “Slavery in Missouri” and “War of No Quarter.” Part of the exhibit includes the sharing of information regarding local Civil War history.
“That’s what we’ve been working the hardest on is trying to come up with stories and artifacts from this area or Southeast Missouri from the Civil War,” said Karen Roman, Farmington Regional Library director. “We are very proud to be able to offer this to the citizens and to the people that are interested in the Civil War. I think there will be a lot of interest in the exhibit here in the Farmington area. It’s a great opportunity for people who can’t travel to museums or battlefields. This is a little taste to things that are important to the American people.”
The exhibit includes a series of panels that include pictures, narratives and some computerized interactive displays. The exhibit will also include guest speakers who will come and present information on occasion.
During Saturday’s opening, Scott House, author of the book "Battle of Pilot Knob-Thunder in Arcadia Valley" was on hand presenting to a fairly decent-sized crowd. He presented his findings at the presentation that are also documented in the book.
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“The book is a rewrite of an original done in the early '80s and I rewrote the book and expanded it greatly and it’s published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press,” said House.
As the book states, a thousand soldiers held off an army 10 times larger at Missouri’s Thermopylae. In the fall of 1864, Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith appointed Maj. Gen. Sterling Price to lead a raid behind federal lines into Missouri and to capture St. Louis or Jefferson City.
Price entered Missouri with an army of 12,000 men, but instead of moving directly to St. Louis decided to attack the weakly-defended federal post at Pilot Knob, guarded by an insignificant earthwork known as Fort Davidson.
The first edition of this book, entitled "Thunder in Arcadia Valley: Price's Defeat, Sept. 27, 1864," by Bryce Suderow, was out of print for years. The current revised edition, by Bryce Suderow and House, has been doubled in size including new text and eyewitness narratives, new maps, and additional photos.
“The Missouri History Museum and the Humanities Council has done a great job on putting the pictures and stories about the war in Missouri together,” said Roman.
The tentative schedule for the exhibit will be Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. However, there will be one special evening presentation next month.
“The only evening event we have is on Dec. 13 and a gentleman from the Missouri History Museum will be doing a presentation from an eyewitness account from the Civil War and that’s supposed to be really, really good,” said Roman.
For more information about contributing stories to the exhibit contact Roman at 573-756-5779.