SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York, officially opened an exhibit on New York in the Civil War at the New York State Military Museum July 27.
Entitled "Empire for Union," the exhibit traces the history of New York and New Yorkers during the four years of war from 1861 to 1865 using some of the hundreds of items in the museum's permanent collection. While the exhibit will be permanent, items will be rotated through the display cases.
The New York State Military Museum traces its collection of items back to 1863 when the New York Legislature directed military officials to preserve battle flags, newspaper clippings, and other artifacts to tell the story of New York's soldiers and sailors in the war. The Bureau of Military Statistics published five reports summarizing the information collected and detailing the contributions made by New Yorkers during the Civil War.
Much of the information is available online at:http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/mil-hist.htm.
"New York sent more men into the Union Army and Navy – more than 360,000-than did any other state. It's fitting that our museum commemorates this sacrifice and history," Murphy said.
The Division of Military and Naval Affairs, which is responsible for the New York Army and Air National Guard, maintains the collection of military artifacts and the museum.
Members of The Friends of the New York State Military Museum also took part in the event.
The Friends of the Museum raised the funds necessary to construct the exhibit through a series of fundraising events. The Friends conducted a series of special fund raising programs at the Museum over the last two years including USO shows and "Brewseum" in March.
"This has truly been a team effort with the community at large, groups like the Lions and area businesses and it's also a statement of patriotic pride by all involved in making this possible," said Lance Ingmire, president of the Friends of the Military Museum.
"The exhibit is organized chronologically and visitors follow a path that will allow them to survey what we feel are the most important points from that period," said Courtney Burns, acting Museum Director and curator. "The exhibit not only covers the battles but what was also happening in society and at the community level as well," he added.
"We hope visitors will come away with a deeper appreciation of not just our military past but our culture as well and how much that turbulent period has impacted our state and the nation," Burns said.
The New York State Military Museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting to the public New York's military heritage from the earliest days up to and including the present activities of the Military Forces of New York, primarily represented by the National Guard. "Empire for Union" has been added to the standing permanent exhibits including the American Revolution, Militia Period and World Wars I and II.
The Museum also offers temporary exhibits such as "Toys and Tanks," which was opened last winter and an exhibit on Benedict Arnold.
The Military Museum is located at 61 Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs. Its hours of operation are Tuesdays through Saturdays year round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.