Most discussions of the American Civil War don’t include much, if any, mention of the West and its role in the conflict.
However, the influence that Westward expansion had on the issues that shaped the Civil War is undeniable, and it’s the subject of the newest exhibit at The Autry National Center of the American West.
“Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West” brings together a large collection of Civil War-era artifacts, the majority of which come from The Autry’s own collection, as well as the personal stories of well known Americans like Jesse James and Sacagawea to some of the lesser-known figures, like Andres Pico, brother of former California governor Pio Pico.
It dives into slavery in the South as well as the other forms it took across America at the time, bringing visitors on a journey from the 1820s as Native Americans were being pushed west from the south, to the Civil War era, to Reconstruction and post-war Westward expansion.
The exhibit opens on Saturday at The Autry and will run through the beginning of January 2016.
Carolyn Brucken, co-curator of the new exhibit and curator of Western Women’s History at the Autry National Center