“My Brother, My Enemy”, Kentucky’s Civil War History Brought to Life Through Local Stories

This excellent exhibit at The Frazier History Museum tells the stories of our ancestors, trapped in the times in which they lived. It features more than 100 artifacts, most of which have never been displayed, giving Kentuckians a small glimpse of those who came before and were unable to escape the hardship, tragedies, and grief of America’s most personally devastating wars.

Unlike many Civil War exhibits, “My Brother, My Enemy” avoids extensive battlefield chronology and focuses more on personal stories, including the Mary Todd Lincoln collection which features documentation of her admittance into Bellevue Insane Asylum in Illinois. The 3,800 square foot exhibition also boasts rare enlisted soldier’s uniforms, slave documents, photos, letters, saddles and tack, flags, and wall panels with countless stories of local lives and facts of the war. Patrons can also see the nation’s oldest existing Civil War Memorial for free in the main lobby, donated by Cave Hill Cemetery.

This exhibit, though fascinating for all age groups, is designed with children in mind and includes many interactive features. Students can dress up in period clothing and get their pictures taken; they can also use the iPad stations for educational games and quizzes. Parents and teachers may even be tempted to play Pack Your Haversack to find out if they might be able to make it as a Civil War soldier. On The Frazier Museum website, history enthusiasts can read Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary and even follow it on Twitter, getting daily excerpts of her experiences through the Civil War as a young woman in Kentucky.

Whether you are a Civil War history buff or just interested in your family’s past, “My Brother, My Enemy” will inspire you to know more about the lives of the local heroes that died for a cause and the ones who endured to tell their stories; it will run until April 8, 2012. Tickets can be acquired at The Frazier History Museum, located at 829 West Main Street or (502) 753-5663. Admission also includes access to permanent galleries and daily historical performances.