Civil War-Era Drawings to open at MassMu

News Release:  Civil War-Era Drawings from the Becker Collection

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the conclusion of the Civil War, the Massillon Museum will host a traveling exhibition, Civil War-Era Drawings from the Becker Collection, curated by Sheila Gallagher (descendent of Joseph Becker) and Dr. Judith Bookbinder (Boston College).  The exhibit will open Saturday, June 13, with a free public reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  No reservations are required.

The drawings vividly illustrate Civil War battles, construction of the railroads, the laying of the transatlantic cable, the Chinese in the West, Indian wars, and the Chicago fire.  They also record customs and the built environment of 19th-century American culture.

The exhibition features 123 drawings by 19th-century artist-reporters, who drew images for newspaper publications.  Joseph Becker and twelve of his colleagues are represented in this collection of drawings that were completed for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  At a time when photography could not yet depict action, these artists and documentarians recorded live historical events, contributing appreciably to the development of American journalism and the recording of American history.  

The exhibit, circulated by Curatorial Assistance, will be on view through August 16. It will be supplemented by activities designed to encourage the exchange of stories and ideas related to the horrors of war as well as the day-to-day activities that carry on despite war.

Classes (advance registration required) will include a landscape drawing workshop with Diane Gibson, a figure drawing class with Alex Strader, a perspective and foreshortening workshop with Bili Kribbs, and an optical drawing series with Gary Spangler.  “Do the Mu” workshops (free and open to all ages without reservations) will feature corsets and goggles (June 6), clothespin dolls (July 11), and steamscapes (August 8).  

Ross H. Schwalm will present the July 23 Brown Bag Lunch, “In the Footsteps of the 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry—Letters from Sgt. Samuel Schwalm.”  To close the exhibition, the theme will culminate in a Civil War ball-inspired “Steampunk Soirée” (August 15) for all ages.  Brown Bag Lunch programs are free and pre-registration is not necessary.  Reservations are requested for the Steampumk Soirée.

Additional exhibitions that will open on June 13 include Civil War: The Battlefield and the Homefront, I Heard it through the Grapevine: The Telegraph and the Civil War, Massillon and the War of the Rebellion: The Grand Army of the Republic, andMogollon and the Old West by Cheri Mohn.  The Immel Circus is always on display.

Following the opening, exhibitions may be seen during regular Museum hours:  Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Admission to the Massillon Museum is always free.

Civil War-Era Draings from the Becker Collection is sponsored by The Dell Group, The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, Massillon Area Chamber of Commerce, MCTV, Massillon Development Foundation, Shearer’s Foods,  and Yund’s Carwash and Detail.

The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in downtown Massillon.  Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots.  For more information, call 330-833-4061 or visit

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