Kids get a taste of 'Life During the Civil War'

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Jul. 12, 2011
Rebecca Figueroa poses in a military uniform for a 'carte de visite,' a cardboard-mounted photograph made popular during the Civil War. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Rebecca Figueroa poses in a military uniform for a 'carte de visite,' a cardboard-mounted photograph made popular during the Civil War. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Why do photographs from the 19th century generally feature unsmiling subjects? Were folks just crabby during that period in American history? Actually, there are two reasons, explained Bev York, education director at the Windham Textile and History Museum. Because photography was a relatively new invention, the process took a very long time. “It was hard to hold a smile for that long,” explained York. Also, “People had bad teeth,” added York. “There wasn’t a lot of dental care back then.”

Children participating in the recent “Life During the Civil War” program at the museum learned about early American photography, and had the opportunity to pose for their own photograph. They sang Civil War-era songs, learned about Morse code and had the opportunity to taste hardtack, a flour-and-water mixture that was a dietary staple for soldiers during the Civil War.

“Life During the Civil War” was the museum’s planned Kids Club event for the month of July. Kids Club will take a break for August, resuming on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m., with “Tea Time.” “Bring a doll or a puppet to tea,” says the event description. “We will learn about tea, proper etiquette for drinking tea and have a tea party.” Children will also make their own puppets. Call to register at 860-456-2178.


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