Metropolis Tourism and Fort Massac State Park will host a Civil War Commemoration Saturday at at the park.
Lectures on various Civil War topics, a mock recruitment and other time period vendors and entertainment are planned.
Among the events scheduled include:
• 9-10 a.m.: Mary Todd Lincoln lived a life filled with triumphs and tragedies but few people know her story. Now, actress Laura Keyes shares Mary’s story in an entertaining and educational program entitled “Mrs. Lincoln: The First ‘First Lady.’ ”Keyes’ researched performance at the Winneshiek Playhouse in Freeport received outstanding reviews.
• 10:15-11:15 a.m.: Robert Valentine will portray Mark Twain, who will discuss his friendship with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Twain was a witness to the Civil War and eventually became a close friend of Grant and was the publisher of Grant’s memoirs. Twain spent most of the war years in Nevada and California, but there was one engagement in Missouri, which he will relate in gory detail along with some of his most popular humorous tales.
Valentine is celebrating 40 years as an interpreter of Twain’s work, having “helped” Twain in his lectures on three continents and more than 1000 performances. He is on the journalism faculty at Murray State University.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m.: The Civil War embraced the public’s intense desire in the 1850s to see and have photographs. Photographers documented the various historical events and made a huge number of individual portraits.
These portraits are often rather “stark” and became very powerful images. Charles Swedland, a fine art photographer, will discuss the various processes used by these photographers and stress the importance of the imagery on a historical and aesthetic level. Following the presentation there will be a display of actual period photographs from my History of Photography collection.
Swedland’s work is in many private and public collections. He taught fine art photography in art and design schools and universities for over 40 years. He has been retired from teaching for the past 14 years.
While an undergraduate student, Swedland happened to find an example of a historical photograph in an antique store. “The image was so much more beautiful than what was reproduced in books,” stated Swedland. “I realized the importance of the actual object, the artifact, rather than a reproduction. As a result I started a History of Photography Collection.”
An integral part of his classes were the presentation of the History of Photography. In order to present a more interesting and thorough experience to the students, he felt it was important for them to see to actual examples.
• 3-4 p.m.: Glen Bishop’s program will be Grierson’s Raid — Sixteen Days in the Heart of Mississippi. Col. Benjamin Grierson led his Southern Illinois Volunteers of the 6th Illinois Cavalry and the 1st Illinois Artillery Battery K along with the 7th Illinois and 2nd Iowa Cavalry Regiments behind enemy lines on a secret mission during the Civil War. One which could decide the fate of Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign.
For more information, contact the Metropolis Tourism office at 524-5025 or Fort Massac State Park at 524-9321.