Monday, September 5, 2016

The ABC's of the American Civil War

September's Coffee with the Curator at the Museum of World Treasures will expand upon engineering during the Civil War. Leading up to that event, we will cover some of the basics of the Civil War. 

The American Civil War continues to be one of the United States' most fascinating periods of history. The war was fought from 1861 to 1865 which, though relatively short in comparison to other war periods, is rife with historical significance. The origins of the Civil War stemmed from the issues of slavery and what degree of autonomy states had from the federal government. Intense combat over four years left an estimated 750,000 soldiers dead and destroyed the South's infrastructure.

Many large wars have their own vocabulary or glossary that develops, and the Civil War is no different. Read on to learn some of the terms frequently used throughout Civil War history texts.
  • Abolitionist: person(s) who wish to get rid of, or abolish, slavery
  • Antebellum: a term to describe the U.S. before the outbreak of the Civil War
  • Bayonet: a metal blade (often a long knife or short sword) that could attach to the end of a musket or rifle-musket to serve as a spear in hand-to-hand combat
  • Bivouac: temporary, makeshift encampment for soldiers that could be constructed quickly with materials nearby
  • Blockade: the North's efforts to keep ships from entering or leaving Southern ports
  • Cavalry: a military branch mounted on horseback; these units could move quickly and were used to gather information about enemy movements
  • Emancipation: freedom from slavery
  • Hardtack: a term used to describe the hard crackers issued to soldiers; these simple crackers were made of flour, water, and salt, and became rock hard when stale
  • Infantry: military branch that traveled and fought on foot
  • Kepi: a cap worn by Civil War soldiers, mostly among Union soldiers
  • Mason-Dixon line: a boundary in the 1760s that ran between Pennsylvania to the North and Delaware, Maryland and (West) Virginia to the South; it became a symbolic division between free states and slave states
  • "Peculiar Institution": a term for slavery in the South
  • "Quaker Guns": large logs painted to look like cannons in hopes of fooling the enemy into thinking an area was stronger than it was
  • Rebel: those loyal to the Confederate states
  • Slavery: a state of bondage where people, mostly African Americans (and some Native Americans), were owned by others; slave owners were typically white and forced their slaves to work for them
  • Union: also referred to as the North or the United States; this portion of the country remained loyal to the Federal government during the Civil War
  • Yankee: a Northerner; someone loyal to the Federal government

Join us September 15, from 9 - 10 a.m., for Coffee with the Curator. Enjoy coffee from The Spice Merchant, pastries, and new friendships. While you are there, be sure to check out our Civil War Exhibit.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Well, shiver me timbers and sharpen me sword!

What is a Murder Mystery Party?
No, no one really dies! Murder mystery events are highly interactive parties, generally dinner parties, that focus on group problem solving to determine which guest was "murdered" and who the "murderer" is among the group. Some events use actors for those roles, though an alternative is to secretly brief select party-goers beforehand about their roles as murdered and murderer. These parties can be likened to a real life version of the game "Clue". 

Often an extravagant theme setting is used to add extra flair to the event. Two of Museum of World Treasures' previous Murder at the Museum events have had a 1920s theme and a late 1800s saloon theme. Our upcoming event features a pirate theme which will lead to some very interesting drama! We strongly recommend wearing a costume to add to the immersive feel. Need ideas for what to wear? Check out our Pinterest board for ideas. Or, contact Foggy Bottom here in Wichita and let them know you plan on attending for great costume advice or purchase.

On November 12, the Museum will be hosting Murder at the MuseumMurder Among the Mateys! We are excited to bring back this staff favorite! Included with admission price is a buffet style dinner, interactive games, entertainment, and (of course) a cash bar - so bring your plunder and not your plastic! 
Check out some of these staff picks for movies to get you in the mood and fuel your pirate fire: Treasure Island, Pirates of Penzance, Pirates of the Caribbean, Blackbeard The Pirate, Goonies, or a favorite alternative pirate movie we haven’t thought of!

For more details about Murder at the Museum, check out our Facebook event page as well as our website and daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ticket sales will begin September 5 through Eventbrite.comGet into the pirate mood by attending our Pirates on the Patio event from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. For more information on Pirates on the Patio, see our Facebook event page.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why I Love Volunteering at the Museum of World Treasures by Emmy Hollaway

The Museum of World Treasures offers internship (and volunteer) opportunities that provide hands-on educational experiences in one of Wichita's most diverse museums. Interns have the opportunity to receive university credit while building their resume. Learn more about our internship program. One of our interns, Emmy Hollaway, recently wrote a blog about her experiences at the Museum. Here is what she had to say:
My first visit to the Museum of World
Treasures in 2011.
My first visit to the Museum of World Treasures was back in 2011. I was immediately enraptured by the amount of history on display. I remember thinking how incredibly amazing it would be to get to volunteer here. However, I lived in a city over two hours away and I was still in high school. Geography and time weren’t in my favor. But I “hoped for someday” anyway.
A year ago this month, my goal came to fruition when I was granted an internship at this wonderful museum. My time as an intern taught me so many amazing things. I loved being in an environment where everyone loved history as much as I do. The opportunity to work in this environment gave me a clearer understanding of what I aspired to do for a career. I am, and continue to be, challenged in new ways at the Museum. For example, giving tours gave me a love for the educational side of museum work while my participation with special programs gave me valuable experience.
My four-month internship ended last December, but I’m very grateful that I’m still given opportunities to volunteer here. The Museum is one of my favorite places to be. A plethora of learning opportunities await a volunteer, and one I enjoy immensely is coming back and giving tours. It’s always a fun experience to share the rich history the Museum has on display.

Here I am as an intern dressed up like a pirate for the
Museum’s “Pirates on the Patio” event last September.
The Museum of World Treasures has so many amazing things to see. I’d like to share a few with you.
  1. Two real mummies reside in the Museum. They are both female and have their real hair, teeth, and nails. The detail of their fingernails is especially intriguing. The entire Egypt exhibit is amazing.
  2. Have you ever seen a real shrunken head? The Museum has one. And yes, I think it’s super cool. But then again, I’m a history geek.
  3. Their T-Rex is 40-60% complete. Many more dinosaur fossils are also on display, and it’s pretty sweet if you like dinosaurs. But who doesn’t like dinosaurs?
  4. The Museum has artifacts from Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome and more—and that’s just on the first floor. Did you know that Romans wore makeup just like we do today? However, their makeup contained lead, which of course, is poisonous.
  5. They display numerous American history exhibits including: Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. This is just a taste of all they have to offer.
I loved ancient history as a kid and still do. I know it was a favorite of many people I met while giving tours at the Museum. What is your favorite historical period?