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Civil War, art focus of first Arrow Rock lecture

February 1, 2013

Fans of Missouri’s Civil War and art history heritage have an opportunity to discuss both topics as Friends of Arrow Rock launch their 2013 lecture series this weekend.


Saturday’s lecture, presented by Joan Stack, curator of art collections at the State Historical Society of Missouri, is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site Visitor’s Center and will focus on the meaning of George Caleb Bingham’s Civil War painting “General Order No. 11,” which the Arrow Rock artist set to canvas in 1868. The order, issued by Union Army Gen. Thomas Ewing just days after William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kan., forced the expulsion of rural residents of Bates, Cass, Jackson and Vernon counties.


“(Bingham’s) home is here in Arrow Rock and it was restored a number of years ago — it is itself a historic landmark,” said Kathy Borgman, executive director of Friends of Arrow Rock. “As a major 19th century American artist, his basic themes were politics and the river. Order No. 11 represents a significant work on the Civil War.”


Borgman said this is the eighth year of the group’s lectures, which are free and open to the public and are supported by an endowment funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and private donors.


“Our series through the years have been very popular. Our idea is we have many experts right around us,” Borgman said. “As adults we don’t go back and think about things we were exposed to as students. History makes more sense as we get older and are able to look back.”


The historic town, situated on a bluff above the Missouri River, was founded in 1829, but was originally settled by Native Americans perhaps as much as 12,000 years ago. Borgman said the town, designated a National Historic Site in 1963, is a “microcosm of 19th century American history.”


“As a restored village it is just a super place to come and make that connection to the past,” Borgman said.


Other lectures in the series include: March 2, Secret Societies of Arrow Rock; April 6, The History of Missouri Birds, Missouri River Bird Observatory; May 4, Village Architectural Tour: National Preservation Month; June 1, If Textiles Could Talk; July 6, Tom Sawyer movie and tour of Arrow Rock movie sites; Aug. 3, Common Life of a Civil War Soldier & his Wife; Nov. 2, Osage Culture: Then and Now, Native American Heritage Month.


For more information, see the group’s website at friendsofarrowrock.org.