Traveling Exhibition at Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center

June 13, 2012, WGNS Radio

For the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area has added two panels to its traveling exhibition on emancipation.  The exhibition will be on view at the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center from June 12 to July 27, 2012.  This will coincide with the annual Juneteenth celebration at the museum on Saturday, June 16, 2012, which is free to everyone.  The museum is located at 415 South Academy Street in Murfreesboro and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $1 for children 12 and under.

Entitled “Free at Last!” the 4-panel exhibition emphasizes the significance of emancipation as a result of the Civil War.  The first two panels give an overview of emancipation and Reconstruction in Tennessee.  The second two panels focus on how the Union army served as a catalyst for emancipation during the Mississippi Valley campaign in West Tennessee, where a groundbreaking contraband camp was established at Grand Junction in November 1862. 

The exhibition calls attention to the agency of former slaves in bringing about their freedom.  “Freedom for former slaves was a key outcome of the Civil War, and it was the slaves themselves who made it happen once the Union army arrived,” says Antoinette van Zelm, historian for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.  “They took advantage of the presence of the occupying Union army to break down the bonds of slavery.”  “Free at Last!” provides an introduction to the joys and challenges shared by African Americans in Tennessee during the aftermath of slavery.

The exhibition debuted in February 2007 and has since traveled to more than fifteen museums and historic sites across the state.  The Heritage Area provides the exhibition free of charge.

The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area receives funding from the National Park Service and is administered by the Center for Historic Preservation atMiddle Tennessee State University.  For more information about the exhibition, please contact Antoinette van Zelm at (615) 217-8013.

For more information about the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center and the Juneteenth celebration, please contact the museum at (615) 867-2633.

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