Americana Symposium: Civil War Era Material Culture


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On September 29, the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, New York, will host a second annual Americana Symposium. This year the theme is “Civil War Era Material Culture”; the event will be held at the Fenimore Art Museum from 9am until 5pm.

The symposium brings together leading scholars and experts on American history, art, and culture. After morning speaker sessions and an optional buffet lunch at noon, the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers perform in a special presentation, “Hard Times Come Again No More: America’s Heart Songs”. The balladeers preserve the songs, tunes, history, and spirit of the Antebellum and Civil War period using original musical arrangements and lyrics. 

This year’s presentations include:

  • “Seeing the Civil War: Artists, Photographers, Cartoonists, and Pictorial News and Views,” Joshua Brown, American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning

  • “Photographic Techniques During the American Civil War,” Mark Osterman, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film

  • “Food in the Civil War,” Andrew F. Smith, food and culinary historian

  • “Emblems of Devotion: New York State’s Civil War Battle Flags, 1861-1862,” Christopher Morton, New York State Military Museum

Symposium attendees also have the opportunity to explore the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. Cooking demonstrations take place at The Farmers’ Museum, and a reproduction regimental silk flag will be painted at the Fenimore Art Museum. The symposium coincides with the Fenimore Art Museum’s exhibition, On the Home Front: New York in the Civil War, which runs from September 8 through December 31, 2012. The exhibition features Civil War–era artifacts, artwork, photographs and clothing.

The public is invited to explore the exciting world of Americana. Registration is limited and is $65 for NYSHA members and Archive Partnership Trust members, $75 non-members. For a complete schedule or to register online, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org or call (607) 547-1453.

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