A Nation Divided: The Heartland Responds

September 2 - October 30, 2011


Marking the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, the Canton Museum of Art presents A Nation Divided: the Heartland Responds, an exhibition of photo enlargements, projected stereographic images (viewed in digital 3-D), illustrations, uniforms, costumes, weapons and Civil War memorabilia.  Cultural agencies throughout the region will be participating with related events, exhibits, performances and activities.  

Sponsored by:
Louise F. Ruhnke Fund of Stark Community Foundation
The Henry and Louise Timken Foundation
Mark and Beverly Belgya
Bill and Carolyn Lemmon

“Heartland” Supporters:
Chris and Tom Clevenger
Harold Zeigler Jr.
Hall, Kistler & Company, LLP
Brewster Dairy, Inc

Media Sponsors:
Western Reserve Public Media
The Repository


Photography was a relatively new medium in the 1860’s and was used liberally to capture all aspects of life during the Civil War era.  Never before had any conflict been so carefully documented.  Photos of soldiers posing for their loved ones, camp scenes, battlefields strewn with the dead, shattered buildings, the machinery of war, the plight of slaves, pictures of the victorious and of the defeated, the savagery of war.  Such photos brought home the astonishing realization that this enormous catastrophe was taking place on American soil, costing hundreds of thousands of American lives.  For many who thought of war as a glorious adventure, the photos proved otherwise.

A Nation Divided: The Heartland Responds draws from The Western Reserve Historical Society’s vast collection. To protect the fragile originals from extended exposure, the Canton Museum of Art has reproduced 52 selected images in an enlarged format. The photos are also included in a companion publication by the Kent State University Press, titled “Feel the Bonds that Draw,” with text by Christine Dee, PhD. 

While photographers documented the Civil War, the technology for printing photographs in newspapers would not be invented until 1880. Newspapers relied on artists, such as Winslow Homer to bring the reality of the war closer to home. Homer was 25 in the spring of 1861 and supporting himself as a field artist for Harper’s Weekly, a northern publication and one of the first illustrated weekly newspapers. Homer's impressions of camp life would be carved onto wooden blocks by engravers and subsequently “stamped” onto the paper. The works of these field artists were not meant to be saved and many of the original sketches were discarded after the engravers finished their print blocks.  

Images courtesy of Western Reserve Historical Society

Winslow Homer, Thanksgiving in Army/wishbone, 1864, 9 ½” x 14 ¼”, collection of the The Butler Institute of American Art, 965-P-266 -detail

Related Events:

View Pictures from the Event!
September 1

More than 200 celebrated a union of art and history, as we opened the exhibit, A Nation Divided: The Heartland Responds with a fabulous Cocktail Party in the Great Court of the Cultural Center. Special thanks to chairperson Lindsay Zimmerman, caterer Peter Shears, photographer Shawn Wood and the many special guest personalities who attended.

PUBLIC KICKOFF for A Nation Divided at “First Stop First Friday”        

September 2
5:30 - 6:30 PM

Featuring the 6th Ohio Cavalry and a "First Friday" march from the Canton Museum of Art to the Kresge Green downtown at 6:30 PM.

Photo by Carl R. Staub, Cleveland, Ohio
"Splashing Sabre Charge" 6th Ohio Calvary re-enactor group


September 22

7 - 9 PM

Relevant to the exhibit A Nation Divided, Executive Director M. J. Albacete has prepared a unique program dedicated to the music of the period.  The “Music of the Civil War” program will be hels at the North Canton’s Civic Center, 845 West Maple Avenue.  Parking and admission are free. 

From his vast collection of CDs, Albacete reviewed hundreds of tunes from the Civil War, many of them recorded by today’s folk and country music singers.  Selected works explore the wide range of emotions felt by citizens and soldiers on both sides of the conflict -- the energy and confidence of the troops thinking that the war would be glorious and brief, the soldiers on the campgrounds recalling their loved ones at home, the deaths of their companions on the battlefield, laments on the home front with the news of casualties, the reactions of the liberated slaves, the songs of Northern victory, the rage of Southern defeat and the tragic music associated with the assassination of President Lincoln.

This will be the first in a series of free, monthly programs presented by the Canton Museum of Art at the North Canton Civic Center, by arrangement with North Canton City Council.  Refreshments will be available. Future programs are planned for October, November and a holiday program in December.          


October 13
7-8:30 PM

Join us at the North Canton Civic Center for a talk with Christopher Craft, of the Massillon Museum and contributor to our Civil War exhibit, A Nation Divided.

An active Civil War living history re-enactor and engaging speaker, Christopher Craft will share stories and anecdotes featuring local historical figures and events which impacted the outcome of the war. Attendees will learn about the politics and actions of home-town personalities, such as the highest ranking Civil War officer to come out of Stark County.  Craft is a historian and also participated in the filming of “Gettysburg.”

“Civil War: Local History” lecture, followed by Q&A
October 13,  7:00-8:30 pm
North Canton Civic Center, located at 845 West Maple Avenue

Parking and admission are free.
Refreshments will be provided, compliments of Walsh University

This is the second in a series of free, monthly programs presented by the Canton Museum of Art at the North Canton Civic Center, by arrangement with North Canton City Council.