VERNON, CT – The New England Civil War Museum and Research Center in Vernon will celebrate its grand reopening on Saturday with events that will include an encampment in front of the former Republic Grand Army meeting hall in the center. town of Rockville.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Central Park across from Vernon City Hall. The museum is housed in the old GAR room on the second floor of the town hall.
“The New England Civil War Museum is a national treasure and we are fortunate to have it here in Vernon”,
said the mayor of Vernon, Daniel Champagne. “This grand reopening is a great opportunity for people to learn more about the museum and its work in preserving and telling the story of a defining period in our country’s history.”
Civil War reenactors will set up camp in Central Park, recreate camp life, fire muskets, and train like their
the predecessors did so 155 years ago. The re-enactments will allow the children of the onlooking crowd to join them in their exercises, said Daniel Hayden Jr., the commander of Camp Alden Skinner No.45 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, which manages the museum. Living historians will demonstrate impressions of the infantry, artillery, navy, signal corps and civilians of the time. The event will even feature a cannon and a working model of the heavy-duty ship USS Monitor.
“It is an event for families, Civil War historians, history buffs and anyone else fascinated by the stories of the
farmers, factory workers, artisans and other ordinary people who went to war as “citizen soldiers” for
perhaps the most extraordinary period in American history, ”said Hayden.
The museum will be open for tours and visitors will be able to see the modifications to the museum and its
exposures during the pandemic.
“We have changed the format and layout of the museum so that visitors experience the journey of a
soldier during the Civil War, from their enlistment, through their service during the war and then their time as a
members of veterans organizations, ”said Hayden. “The grand reopening is a celebration of all this hard work and
the museum and what it represents. “
In addition to features related to the Civil War, representatives and vehicles from various towns in Vernon
Departments will join the celebration along Park Place, as will representatives from UConn ROTC and others.
organizations. There will also be a used book sale and raffles, said Hayden.
The Memorial Building, which houses the Vernon Museum and Town Hall, was built in 1890 as a memorial to
Civil war veterans. The second floor was reserved for veterans and served as a meeting place for the
the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of civil war veterans. The
GAR national dissolved in 1956, after the death of its last member.
A successor organization, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, took over the work of GAR to honor and
remembrance of all Union soldiers. The local camp was established in 1883 and named in honor of Dr Alden B.
Skinner, a local doctor who, at 64, joined the Union Army and was appointed surgeon of the
25th Connecticut Infantry Regiment. While on a detail in Louisiana, he fell ill and subsequently died
Every Remembrance Day, camp members decorate the graves of Skinner and those of 148 buried Civil War veterans
at Grove Hill Cemetery in the Rockville section of Vernon. The Camp meets on the first Thursday of each month at
The big reopening party is free for the public. Regular museum hours are noon to 3 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays.
The museum displays many research materials and artefacts such as Civil War weapons, personal effects and even a regimental bible.