Michigan Iron Industry Museum event recalls sights and sounds of the Civil War

On Aug. 14-15, Michigan Iron Industry Museum visitors will be treated to the sights and sounds of the Civil War during Iron Ore and the Civil War, a two-day event packed with guest speakers, actors and musicians, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment announced today.

The full schedule of Civil War-related programs will combine a living-history encampment, demonstrations, period music, children's games and dramatic performances with the smell of black powder, wood fires and cornmeal johnny cakes.

Battery D, 1st Michigan Light Artillery, a living history group, will recreate Civil War army life with artillery and small-arms drills, period cooking and soldiers' pastimes. The First Michigan Infantry assembled for federal service in 1861, just two weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter and the start of the ''War Between the States.'' At least 90,000 Michiganians enlisted, and more than 14,000 were killed during the war.

The state's wartime contribution of not only manpower, but also iron ore resources, was instrumental in helping to preserve the Union a fact President Abraham Lincoln is said to have recognized by stating, ''Thank God for Michigan.''

''From 1861 to 1865, Upper Peninsula iron mines, including Negaunee's Jackson Mine and Ishpeming's Lake Superior Mine, set production records that fueled the industrial growth of the North as wartime manufacturing expanded,'' said Michigan Historical Center regional director Tom Friggens. ''Iron Ore and the Civil War commemorate that effort and our proud regional heritage.''

In addition to the army life demonstration, the event will feature children's games and activities. The costumed youth of the museum's student auxiliary ''The Future Historians'' will play croquet, snap-apple, hoop and stick, blind man's bluff and walk on stilts.

President and Mrs. Lincoln, portrayed by Fred and Bonnie Priebe of Belleville, will also be on hand both Saturday and Sunday for photo opportunities and entertaining theatrical performances mixing humor and drama.

The museum entrance is located on U.S.-41E, one mile west of Junction M-35, in Negaunee Township. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is one of 11 nationally accredited museums administered by the Michigan Historical Center, an agency within the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE). It overlooks the site of the Carp River Forge, a pioneer industrial site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call (906) 475-7857 or visit online at www.michigan.gov /ironindustrymuseum.

Copyright © 2010 State of Michigan

Published: Thu, Aug 5, 2010