Thursday, May 1, 2014

Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed

              'Digs' add to prison's history

The Hayes Presidential Center’s latest exhibit - Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed – opens May 1, 2014 for a seven-month run. Visitors are presented with new information about the Johnson's Island Civil War Prison, near Marblehead, gleaned during archaeological exploration of the prison site.
Officers housed at the prison were educated and cultured - the elite of Southern gentry. This influenced prison life and the amazing array of artifacts that survive - like this violin.The exhibit, funded by the Sidney Frohman Foundation and the Friends & Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison, continues through Jan. 4, 2015. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $7.50/adult, $6.50/seniors age 60+, and $3/children ages 6-12.
Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed advances the history of Johnson’s Island with facts uncovered since the 1965 publication of “Rebels on Lake Erie” - the seminal history of the prison written by Charles E. Frohman. Collaboration with David R. Bush, Ph.D. of Heidelberg University’s Center for Historic & Military Archaeology, makes possible the display of numerous artifacts recovered from the site during excavations of the prison latrines. A visual timeline chronicles the prison’s creation, arrival and treatment of prisoners, and diversions POWs employed during their imprisonment - including jewelry making, theatrical productions, and photography. 

An episode of the History Channel’s History Detectives is included in the exhibit. It explores the amazing story of a particular Confederate officer who fashioned a camera from a tobacco box and used oyster tins to produce photographs of his fellow prisoners. 

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