Regional History Center recognizes Civil War anniversary with online exhibit

The Civil War exhibit, “Vestiges of a Nation Divided,” is being put on by NIU’s Regional History Center.

By Leah Spagnoli

The Founders Memorial Library is offering students and faculty the chance to travel 150 years in the past.

On April 12, 1861, the United States began a war within itself. NIU’s Regional History Center is recognizing the anniversary by creating an online exhibit filled with pictures, personal letters and documents.

“What we tried to do is put these snapshots online that go along with stories we keep here in the history center,” said Katharine White, curator and creator of the online exhibit. “All of these people and documents relate back to this area.”

The exhibit, “Vestiges of a Nation Divided,” is on Flickr to spark the interest of people looking to view the whole thing, White said.

She added that interested viewers can go into the Regional History Center in Room 400 of the Founders Memorial Library to view all of these documents and more in person.

“We want to show people that we have these collections and they exist,” White said. “The war impacted every person across the nation; family and loved ones, everyone was involved.”

There are 240 items to view on the website that all date back in some way to this era. White said the whole point of putting the exhibit on Flickr is to get the word out even farther.

“If someone types ‘Sycamore, Illinois’ into the search bar they might pull up some pictures of restaurants and what not, but then they’ll come across this old picture of a person and that could spark their interest to view more,” White said. “It’s to show people all over the world what we have here on campus.”

The exhibit will be online indefinitely and all students and residents are welcome to visit the library to learn more about the Civil War documents.