Visitors enjoy Civil War-era exhibit

July 11, 2013|Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
  • Valley of the Shadow, an exhibition of authentic art and artifacts of regional, national, and international importance to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, is on display through Sunday, July 28, at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Magnus Dahlgren

By Rebecca Massie Lane

Special to The Herald-Mail

 On June 16, 2012, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts opened “Valley of the Shadow,” a landmark exhibition of authentic art and artifacts of regional, national, and international importance to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. 

Focused on objects telling stories of the Maryland Campaign, particularly Antietam and concluding with the Battle of Gettysburg, this exhibition will close on Sunday, July 28.

In the first 12 months of the exhibition, the museum has hosted visitors from the region and beyond; people from 43 states (including Alaska) and 22 foreign countries. An exhibition catalogue is available in the museum shop.

Over the past year, many visitors have left comments in the exhibition response book, and today I share a few of them with you.  


“This should be on everybody’s ‘to see’ list. This exhibit and museum are great. Hagerstown should be proud.” —  Williamsport

“Amazing! I love history.” — P. Ells, Arizo

“A premier exhibition of Civil War pieces.” — Sharpsburg

“Wonderful exhibition” —Frankfurt, Germany

“I love everything about it! Hope it never shuts down.”

“The arrangement of the exhibition is outstanding, a work of art in itself. The whole exhibit is beautifully choreographed.”

“Peace” — Denver

“This was such a surprise. We stopped for a rest and left with an education. We hope to come again!” 

— Tarboro, N.C.

“Wonderful exhibit! I just love this museum! Such a great place to enjoy the afternoon. We are blessed to have a fantastic park and museum. Thank you for your stewardship.”  — Hagerstown

“One of the best Civil War exhibits I have ever seen and I’ve seen a lot.” — Freda Foster, Rochester Mils, Pa.

“A jewel in Hagerstown and the whole region!” — Dave Gysberts, mayor of Hagerstown

“I would like to thank you for inviting us to play at the museum. We walked around and looked at the wonderful collection you have there presently and it was a real treat. Always a pleasure to see interest in local history but your museum takes it to another level. My jaw was dropping looking at your collection as I am an avid antique collector and Civil War enthusiast. We considered it to be an honor to be able to play for such a prestigious organization as yours. Your efforts will help to preserve the local history in your area for generations to come. We hope that we may be able to provide our services to you in the future.”

— From the Libby Prison Minstrels who performed at the museum Sept. 30, 2012

If you go 

What: Valley of the Shadow” 

When: Now through Sunday, July 28

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. In addition to usual hours of operation, the museum will be open until 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 27.

Cost: Admission to the museum and the exhibition is free.

Contact: Call 301-739-5727 or go to

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