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Discovering the Civil War Exhibit
May 21 - September 5, 2011
Limited-Engagement Exhibit from the National Archives
Commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War through this limited-engagement traveling exhibit that takes a fresh look at the conflict through little-known stories, seldom-seen documents and unusual perspectives. Walk in the shoes of researchers, unlock secrets, solve mysteries and uncover unexpected events. The exhibit combines great original treasures and engaging touch-screen interactives in a physical environment inspired by 21st-century research rooms. Letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts, patents, amendments and proclamations all become powerful tools to let visitors take a fresh look at a conflict that still touches our lives.

A traveling exhibit from the National Archives. Created in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives.

Click here to view the National Archives' Official Discovering the Civil War website

exhibit highlights

This exhibition from the National Archives peels back 150 years of accumulated analysis, interpretation and opinion to reveal a Civil War that is little-known and even more rarely displayed.  This exhibition is unconventional in every way.  It combines these great treasures with engaging touch-screen interactives incorporating social media tools.  Rather than trying to re-create 1860, these interactives let visitors see the war through the lens of  21st-century technology. Passing over the traditional chronological approach, the exhibition is arranged by themes such as, “Spies and Conspiracies,” “Prisoners and Casualties,” “Emancipation,” “Global War” and “Raising Armies.”

Visitors will discover:

  • The original Louisiana ordinance of secession
  • A “substitute book” listing names of men who were paid $300 to replace draftees
  • How Lincoln stopped the execution of a Confederate major
  • Original pension records of a Michigan woman, Emma Seelye,  who served in the Union Army as Frank Thompson
  • A telegram from a Southern governor rejecting Lincoln’s call for troops
  • Film of the 75th reunion of Battle of Gettysburg veterans filmed by the Army Signal Corps
  • An original Freedmen’s Bureau record documenting thousands of murders and outrages committed against African Americans
  • Innovative wartime patents, including a multipurpose device that could serve as a tent, knapsack or blanket
  • The similarities between the Constitution of the Confederacy and the U.S. Constitution
  • The Chinese connection to the Civil War

Discovering the Civil War marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.  Join us at The Henry Ford this summer as we commemorate the most significant war in our nation's history.

This exhibition is free with Henry Ford Museum admission.

MEMBERS free of charge;
NON-MEMBER SENIORS age 62 & up, $14
NON-MEMBER ADULTS age 13-61, $15
NON-MEMBER YOUTH age 5-12, $11
CHILDREN 4 & under are free.

Parking is $5 per vehicle.


Click here to view the Discovering the Civil War Educator Guide

related exhibitions & programming

Loomis’ Battery Exhibition
Henry Ford Museum
May 21 – September 5, 2011

The Henry Ford presents a complementary exhibit with on-loan artifacts featuring the 1st Michigan Light Artillery, Battery A “Loomis’ Battery.” On display will be the original 10-pounder Parrot cannon lost at Chickamauga, celebrated by an 1864 Thomas Nast illustration, as well as dozens of identified photos of Battery members.  The artifacts, together with letters, tell the compelling story of the Loomis Battery. A hands-on area is located just outside the Discovering the Civil War exhibition. The Loomis' Battery exhibition is FREE to members or with admission to Henry Ford Museum.

Shenandoah the Musical
August 12, 14, 19, 20, 21, 2011
Anderson Theater

This enthralling musical springs to life with stirring anthems, gentle lullabies and exhilarating dance. Buy ticket now for this inspirational, entertaining and enlightening experience at the Anderson Theater.
For more information, click here


“Loomis’ Battery-1st Michigan Light Artillery” – Matthew C. Switlik
Saturday, September 3 – 10am-11am
Anderson Theater, admission is FREE

Switlik authored the seminal book on antique ordnance use and is an authority on Civil War-era arms and artillery.

on the museum floor

With Liberty & Justice for All
Henry Ford Museum
Permanent Exhibition

A groundbreaking exhibit that explores the proud and often painful evolution of American freedom, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War through the struggle for civil rights. See and hear the past trials, tribulations and triumphs of the enduring spirit of freedom.
Visit the online exhibition at

The Lincoln Chair
Henry Ford Museum

President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in this rocking chair during the production of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre when he was assassinated on April 14, 1865.  Located in With Liberty & Justice for All.

vacation packages

Civil War Vacation Packages
The best value for Civil War enthusiasts to experience both the Discovering the Civil War exhibit in Henry Ford Museum and Civil War daily programming in Greenfield Village is through our Affordable Vacation Packages. Starting at just $89, The Henry Ford Vacation Packages include overnight accommodations and two tickets to two attractions (choose from Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village or Ford Rouge Factory Tour).

what to bring, what to wear
The exhibits of Henry Ford Museum are spread across several acres, all indoors. Comfortable clothing and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Wheelchairs and electric scooters are available to rent for a fee at the IMAX® and Clocktower entrances. Electric scooter supplies are limited; please arrive early if you plan to rent one. You are welcome to bring your own wheelchairs, electric scooters and children's strollers; upright electric scooters (Segways) are not allowed on premises, however

Photography is allowed in the exhibit area but food and drink are strictly prohibited.

The Henry Ford is located in Dearborn, Michigan on the corner of Village Road and Oakwood Boulevard, just west of the Southfield Freeway (M-39) and south of Michigan Avenue (US-12).
The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
From the East or West via I-94:
Take I-94 to the Oakwood Boulevard exit; go north on Oakwood. The Henry Ford is 2.5 miles from the exit on the corner of Village Road and Oakwood Boulevard.
From the South via I-75:
Exit to northbound Southfield Freeway (M-39); drive 4.1 miles to Oakwood Boulevard (Exit 4). Left on Oakwood and drive 1.8 miles.
From the North via Southfield Road (or I-96):
Take Southfield Freeway (M-39) south 4.5 miles past I-96 and exit at Michigan avenue (Exit 6). Continue on the Southfield service drive (veer left) for .5 mile. At the first stoplight, turn right onto Village Road (through the iron gates) and drive .75 mile.
Metro Detroit often has major construction projects. Please check the following sites for the latest on construction areas and road closures.
Michigan Department of Transportation
AAA Traffic & Construction Report