Feb 17, 2013

"Discovering the Civil War" -- A trip to Nashville

Today, Mary Ann and I saw the original Emancipation Proclamation.  It was part of a traveling exhibition from the National Archives.  It is currently (and for a very limited engagement) at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.  We had gotten tickets in advance, courtesy of Mary Ann's on line research and initiative.  We arrived at the museum about fifteen minutes before our scheduled 1:30 viewing time.  The processing was efficient and in no time we were in line to see the document, faded and handwritten, but so incredibly important to the history of our nation.  The most remarkable words appear on the third page: "And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons."
The record of the 13th amendment

Just beyond the Proclamation, also under thick, protective glass, was the handwritten Congressional Record of December 6, 1865, which outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.  I was able to take a picture of that ledger.

The rest of the exhibit was made up of other archival documents from both sides -- military papers, newspapers, letters, and legal documents.  There were several interactive exhibits as well.

Mary Ann studies a portrait of Andrew Jackson

After we completed the Civil War exhibit (which will be at the museum through September 2), we walked into part of the museum's permanent collection.  It's very impressive, extremely well presented, and well worth the trip to Nashville.

We'll be back...

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