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Wilson's Creek Battlefield Launches Virtual Museum

An important part of Civil War history, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, was the location of the first major battle west of the Mississippi River and was where General Nathaniel Lyon was killed.  While the Civil War is one of the most researched conflicts in U.S history, the Trans-Mississippi Theater which includes Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas has not been documented as thoroughly, until now.  KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.

Later this month, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and the Springfield-Greene County Library District will introduce the “Community and Conflict Virtual Museum,” a website focused on the historical events that happened at Wilson’s Creek.  Jeff Patrick, a librarian for Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, talks about some of the things you can find at the site.

“It’s a virtual Museum of the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the Civil War.  So we’ve taken high resolution photos of about 200 artifacts in the Wilson Creek collection and about 500 high resolution scans of story photographs in our collection as well. And we are going to combine all of those with historical narrative to tell the story of the war west of the Mississippi River,” says Patrick.

Maps, diaries and photos are just some of the things you will find on the site.  They’ll not only contain in-depth information about the Battle at Wilson’s Creek, but also about battles that happened all around Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. And Patrick says there’s even more to it than that.

 “It’s more than just a website about battles. We’re also talking about the role of Native Americans in the war, African Americans, women in the war, battlefield medicine. So we’re really trying to make this a comprehensive site that will talk about all of those civilian and military personnel involved in the war and really tell the experiences of the people who lived through this conflict,” says Patrick.  

The launch event at 2 pm July 30 in the Visitors Center Auditorium at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield will be an opportunity for the public to learn how to navigate the site and view some of the park’s artifacts.  The second event at 1pm on July 31 at the Library Center will contain an outdoor camp scene complete with re-enactors and Civil War music.  For KSMU, I’m Matthew Barnes.