The Exhibit is Open

April 14th, 2011

And I do hope you’ll come and see. It’s rather incredible, if I do say so myself (all I did was some writing and fabricating, so it’s no violation of modesty for me to layer on the invective in favor of the amazing collection that is on display). Where else can you gaze at one-of-a-kind Civil War medical portraits, not seen since the 19th century? The photos on display are from The Burns Archive, and include hauntingly beautiful album prints by Civil War Army surgeon R. B. Bontecou, a few by Mathew Brady, and many others. The entire exhibit is captioned with quotes from Walt Whitman’s memoir of Civil War nursing, Specimen Days.

The exhibit tips its hat to Dr. Stanley Burns’s latest book, Shooting Soldiers, which has been released just in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and features many of the Bonetcou images. There’s also a small annex devoted to New York’s Seventh Regiment National Guard and The Siege of Washington, by John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood, also recently released.

Image courtesy of The Burns Archive

But don’t take it from me. Here’s what our local public radio station, WNYC, had to say.

And here are the details on how you can see these photographs in person — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should not be missed by anyone interested in photography, history, or the Civil War:

Exhibit Dates: April 14, through August 1, 2011
Location: Merchant’s House Museum (29 East Fourth Street, NYC)
Title: New York’s Civil War Soldiers
Open: Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday), noon to 5 p.m.
Price: Included with regular admission, $10, $5 Students & Seniors (a real bargain, as you get to see the rest of the Museum as well)
Bonus: Say you know “Eva” and get a strange look from the person working the door…

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