March – Civil War Home Front

For Civil War era families, life on the home front had struggles of its own. How did a family support both their livelihood and the morale of a loved one in the Army? Share the life of a Lockport family during the Civil War at the Niagara History Center’s March Family Night, Tuesday, March 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The theme “The Home Front During the Civil War” will take us into the world of a Lockport farm family whose husband and father is serving in the Union Army. Join this all-ages evening with activities your own family can enjoy, held at our 215 Niagara St. location in Lockport.

Re-enactors Karen and Connor Sherwood, members of the 1st NY Light Artillery, Reynolds Battery, will portray the wife and son of a Lockport soldier. Karen, who is also a History Center volunteer, will tell us what the entire family must do to keep the farm running. Everyone needs to pull together to support the farm and boost morale for their beloved soldier so far from home.
Connor, age 10, as the family’s youngest child, has followed his father into his Army artillery unit as a drummer boy. Connor is Karen’s real-life grandson and re-enacts with her at many Civil War encampments and events.

We’ll enjoy Civil War era children’s crafts, as boys whittle soap figures and girls make paper dolls from illustrations in the period fashion publication “Godey’s Ladies Book.” As “those at home,” we’ll also wrap bandages to send to the front. Sheets and tablecloths were torn into pieces and rolled to be sent to the Field Hospital, another way to extend caring and support to soldiers across the miles.

Admission to Family Night is free. A pizza and beverage supper will be available for a nominal donation from 5:30-6:00 p.m., followed by the program. Family Nights are a series of monthly programs and activities specifically designed for families with children ages 5 and up. All ages can share a good time learning about history that happened right here in Niagara County.
The Family Night series, which began last year, highlights local history in formats appealing to everyone with a different theme each month. The program is designed to bridge the gap between our current programs for children and adults, offering an evening out with activities and unique interpretive topics much like what we now offer in our children’s sessions.

The rest of the year’s themes, all with Niagara County emphasis, will be: April 18, Paul Revere’s Ride; May 16, The Victorian Parlor; June 20, History of Photography; July 18, 200th Anniversary of the Start of the Erie Canal; August 22, History of the Niagara County Fair; September 19, One-Room Schoolhouses; October 17, Farms and Apple Orchards; November 21, Women Get the Vote in New York State; and December 19, Christmas in the 1950s. Presenters throughout the year will include History Center staff, volunteers and re-enactors from the museum’s Step Back in Time Players. Family Nights are open to all Western New York families, regardless of residence.

Reservations are needed for Family Nights and programs fill up quickly. Please call the History Center at (716) 434-7433 for reservations and information.


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