Morgan County one of 32 venues to host Civil War exhibit

VERSAILLES, Mo. — In just a few weeks, visitors to Missouri’s Meramac Caverns will revel in the intriguing collection of Civil War documents that make up the traveling exhibit “Divided Loyalties: Civil War Documents from the Missouri State Archives.”

Through July 31, guests to the Morgan County Museum in downtown Versailles can enjoy reading through a variety of historical documents as part of “Divided Loyalties,” which outline important and sometimes unknown aspects of Missouri’s involvement in the Civil War.

For Morgan County Historical Society President Barb Barnard, the exhibit brings added appeal to the popular 28-room museum filled with county artifacts.

“We have definitely seen more people come to the museum with this exhibit being here over the last few months,” said Barnard, who noted “Divided Loyalties” arrived in May. “We also have received positive feedback from our visitors. It talks more about the internal battles of the Civil War in Missouri, which offers a different perspective than many other exhibits.”

According to the Missouri State Archives’ literature, “Divided Loyalties” examines the upheaval and uncertainty that characterized Missouri during the Civil War era. Drawing on more than nine million pages of Civil War-related documents and court cases, the exhibit goes beyond the stories of battles and military strategy to consider the charged atmosphere of social conflict.

Highlights of the exhibits include: pre-Civil War Missouri; the role the institution of slavery played in the state’s culture and economy; military history and correspondence such as Missourians who did not serve in the military could be subjected to discrimination and violence at the hands of Union troops and bushwackers; challenges Missourians faced during the decade after the war’s end; regaining lost rights Missourians lost during the war; and vigilante violence such as acts involving Frank and Jesse James.

After the “Divided Loyalties” exhibit leaves, the Morgan County Historical Society will hold one of its popular annual functions outside its summer ice cream social. On Sept. 14, the society will host a Historic Home Tour featuring four homes within Morgan County. The event is held from 1-5 p.m., and those interested in purchasing tickets and additional information on this event are encouraged to contact the museum.

The Morgan County History Museum, which is located at 120 N. Monroe St., is open May through September, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children. All proceeds help the Morgan County Historical Society and improvements to the museum.

For more information about the museum, call 573-378-5530 or visit morgancohistory.org.

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