Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 15: Civil War at 150 exhibit in downtown Aurora

The Aurora Public Art Commission and the Aurora Historical Society are teaming up to present a new exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

“If I should not write you again: Remembering life in Aurora during and following the Civil War” will be on display starting with a special opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 15 at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Place. The event is free.

The exhibit will feature war-related items such as weaponry, photos and gear from local regiments, including a surgeon’s kit and field notes from Auroran Dr. Abner Hard, 8th Illinois Calvary unit; and the sword of Colonel Silas Miller of the 36th Illinois Infantry.

Artifacts from the home front on display will include images of Aurora in the mid-19th century, an 1860 Kane County map, clothing, tools and other household items of the era. Patrons also will be able to view historical treasures from Aurora’s former Grand Army of the Republic Post 20, such as the original charter, medals from various encampments, organization meeting minutes and photographs.

The Grand Army of the Republic, a national Civil War veterans’ organization, existed in Aurora from the 1860s to the 1920s. The GAR Memorial Hall, which was built in 1877-78, stands across the street from the Art & History Center.

The City of Aurora’s Public Art Commission (APAC) is seeking to raise at least $800,000 through public and private partnerships to complete both exterior and interior renovations at the GAR Memorial Hall. Once work is complete, the building will be opened as a veterans’ center and museum to learn about Aurora’s role in America’s wars and genealogical research.

People looking to make a donation to APAC’s GAR restoration effort can:

· Go online to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley’s website at;

· Send a check or money order to the Aurora Public Art Commission Fund, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, 111 W. Downer Place, Aurora, IL 60506; or

· Call Aurora’s Customer Service Center at 630-256-INFO or call the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley at 630-896-7800.

The Civil War exhibit will be open to the public during regular gallery hours from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday through Jan. 20, 2012. Daily admission is free. For more information on the exhibit, visit the City’s website at

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