Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fitz John Porter exhibit to open May 2011

Fitz John Porter (31 August 1822-1901)

Strawbery Banke Museum is pleased to announce that "Fitz John Porter: Portsmouth's Own Hero and the Scandal of the Civil War" will open to the public on May 1st, 2011 in the Museum's Rowland Gallery and will culminate with a birthday party for Fitzy with a full weekend encampment at Puddle Dock in August.

Fitz John Porter, a Civil War hero born in Portsmouth who was involved in one of the most infamous scandals of the Civil War. Porter fought for the Union Army at the Second Battle of Bull Run where he was wrongly court martialed for insubordination and spent the remainder of his life fighting for vindication. The life of Fitz John Porter and his court martial case bring to mind several important themes that will be addressed for the exhibit. Perhaps the most important facet of Porter’s character lies in the idea of his heroism. We hope to answer the questions: What does it truly mean to be a hero? How did Porter’s pursuit of justice make him heroic? Another prevalent theme in Porter’s life revolves around political rivalry. The exhibit will stress the importance of politics, government, influence, and reputation during Porter’s time. Finally, in keeping with Strawbery Banke’s focus on local and regional history, we will emphasize Porter’s ties with Portsmouth and the seacoast region. Additionally, to supplement the exhibit we are planning a walking tour to Porter’s nearby equestrian monument and former home in Portsmouth. And in order to attract Civil War enthusiasts on a broader scale, in the summer of 2011 Strawbery Banke will host a weekend-long encampment of Civil War reenacters right on the museum grounds.

If you would like to get started, we suggest reading "The Court Martial of Fitz John Porter" by Michael Haydock in American History Magazine

For information contact:
Amy Moy, Director of Marketing, 603.433.1102
Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Chief Curator, 603.422.7526
Tara Vose, Collections Manager, 603.422.7526

Planning Team
Dick Adams, Civil War Historian
Bill Hallett, NH Civil War Roundtable
Elizabeth Kachavos, Exhibit intern, Georgetown University
Dr. Dane Morrison, Professor of History, Salem State College
Dr. Rick Schubart, Bates-Russell Distinguished Faculty Professor
Department of History, Phillips Exeter Academy
Don Trefethen, Civil War Historian, SBM interpreter
Pat Trefethen, Civil War Historian, SBM Interpreter
Will Twombly, Exhibit Designer
Strawbery Banke Museum Staff