Course Description

Pictures of the battles of the American Civil War are well-studied, but what was the visual experience of people on the home front? During the mid-nineteenth century printing technologies and manufacturing techniques meant that there was an unprecedented growth of images in the lives of most urban residents of the United States. This workshop will explore the visual and material culture during the years immediately preceding and during the Civil War.

We will study fine art exhibitions, works on paper made for individual sale and sold by subscription, photographs, political cartoons from illustrated periodicals, ephemera such as advertising labels and children's games, and material culture objects, including quilts. Participants will study original objects from the collections of the Portsmouth Athenaeum and the Strawbery Banke Museum. Using an interdisciplinary approach and drawing on works of literature and historical texts of the period, we will discuss what it means to "read" an image, to use an image as historical evidence, and to consider the different ideological framework of an artist.

How did those people left at home experience the Civil War? and what lasting changes did the Civil War make on the visual culture of the United States?


Thank you for your interest. This course is not open for enrollment at the present time.

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