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Tag Archive | "Michigan Historical Museum"

Civil War battle flags on display

The final rotation of rarely seen Civil War flags is now on display in the Michigan Historical Museum’s Plowshares Into Swords exhibit, which features Michigan and the coming of the war. Over the course of the exhibit, Civil War battle flags have been rotated in sets of four. To expose the flags to a minimal amount of light, each set is only on display for three months. Visit the Michigan Historical Museum through Feb. 5 to see these cherished pieces of Michigan’s history.
This final flag rotation includes the battle flags of the 6th Michigan Cavalry Regiment, the 4th Michigan Infantry Regiment, the 18th Michigan Infantry Regiment and the 24th Michigan Infantry Regiment.
“One of Michigan’s most notable flags belonged to the 24th Michigan Infantry,” explained Michigan Historical Museum Education Historian Eric Perkins. “Color Sergeant Abel Peck—a farmer from Nankin—carried the flag into battle at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He was the first of the regiment to die that day, and before the battle was over, nine color bearers lost their lives or received mortal wounds in defense of the flag.” Shot through by 23 bullets, its staff splintered, the flag was reduced to tatters. Despite 80 percent casualties, the regiment never surrendered the flag.
If a Regiment was fortunate enough to return home with its flag, oftentimes the battle-weary soldiers would cut off a small square of the flag as a bittersweet memento.  According to Perkins, these souvenir sections show up as square edges on the remaining flag.
Many of the flags have been meticulously restored and all are kept in a climate-controlled room away from light except for rare occasions such as this. Yet most of the flags are missing sections—a reminder of each soldier who walked back through the front door of his home, still wearing his uniform, with a scrap of his cherished battle flag in his pocket.
“Visitors won’t see perfectly rectangular flags,” says Michigan Historical Center Director Sandra Clark. “These are the flags of war. They bear the scars of battle, and that’s what makes them so special, so cherished and so important to Michigan’s history. Each flag has a story. They were actually there.”
Clark encouraged the public to take advantage of this rare chance to see each of them, and learn about who made them, who fought under them, and their long journey from the battlefield to the museum.
For more information about this and other Civil War Sesquicentennial events, visit www.micivilwar.org.
Michigan Historical Museum admission is $6 for adults 18-64. Children through age 5 are free; youth ages 6-17 pay an optional $2; and seniors 65 and up pay $4. Annual passes are available. Visit www.michigan.gov/museum for details.
The museum is open seven days a week. It is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 West Kalamazoo St., Lansing. The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/museum or call 517-373-3359.

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A special view in Lansing

On Friday, May 6th, Ms. Falcinelli, Mrs.Poll, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Underwood’s Cedar View Elementary classrooms went to Lansing for their 4th grade field trip to see our state Capitol building and the Michigan Historical Museum. This special trip is a culminating activity after studying Michigan history, geography, economics, and our state and federal government throughout third and fourth grades. The students are always excited to see our wonderful Capitol building and see where our laws are made.  One activity they really enjoy is lying down on the glass floor in the rotunda and looking up at the beautiful capitol dome. The Michigan Historical Museum brings Michigan’s history right before the students’ eyes.
The students who attended Lansing on Friday happened to be there on a day of a historical event. It was the day of the unveiling of former Governor Granholm’s portrait.  Some of the classes were able to see Governor Granholm there in the Capitol building.  Mrs. Poll’s class had the honor of having a representative from the capitol explain to them some of the symbolism included in the governor’s portrait. In the portrait the governor is looking past a vase of apple blossoms and out a sunlit window. Some of the symbols in the portrait include: a small wind turbine to show her work toward green energy, a Chevy Volt to show her work support of extending the range of the electric car, a mortarboard to show that she wants to increase the number of college graduates in Michigan, and a shovel that was used to break the ground for an advanced auto battery plant in Holland, Michigan.
On Wednesday, May 11th, a second batch of fourth graders headed to Lansing. This time, students from Ms. Zank, Mrs. Baas, Mrs. Nielsen, Mr. Moleski, and Mr. Gregory visited the Michigan Historical Museum and state Capitol. Since congress rarely convenes on a Friday, it was the Wednesday group that had the opportunity of a fourth grade lifetime. Several of our groups from Cedar View were honored in the House of Representatives by our very own representative Pete MacGregor. These groups were able to see the representatives at work and listen in on how they voted on a bill.
All of the students had an awesome time viewing the history of Michigan at the Michigan Historical Museum, but the main attraction was seeing how our government actually works.  The fourth grade teachers spent many hours preparing their students for this trip. No question from the tour guides went unanswered by our marvelous fourth graders. The lead tour guide at the capitol told me that Cedar View Elementary is one of the finest and largest groups to enter the Capitol and leave as the best behaved.  Congratulations to all of the fourth grade students of Cedar View for representing our community and demonstrating the Habits of Mind.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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