June 14: Civil War Day


Our third annual Civil War Day commemorates the 150th anniversary of Cincinnati’s Great Western Sanitary Fair—a multi-week event in 1864 that raised money for sick and wounded Civil War soldiers. Thousands attended the Fair opening, where they walked through the streets of Cincinnati and heard the bargaining shouts of vendors, learned from guest lecturers and witnessed the most unusual artifact displays they had ever seen.

Help us recreate the Fair and head to Reakirt Auditorium for an up-close look at Civil War style during the Ladies Living Historical Society fashion show. Watch a performance of Soldier, Come Home, a story based on a family’s correspondence during the Civil War. Then stop by Newsreel Theater for lectures led by members of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table and The Siege of Cincinnati, a documentary by local filmmaker Paige E. Malott.

You can commemorate the Civil War all summer by viewing items from Cincinnati’s Great Western Sanitary Fair on display in Daughters of the Queen City, our Diana, A Celebration companion gallery. Learn how women’s work changed during the Civil War and learn about the women-led organizations that spearheaded social change during this tumultuous time in American history.


Front lawn

10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

Cavalry tactics demonstration

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meet Patience the Horse

Reakirt Auditorium

11 a.m.

Ladies Living History Society fashion show

1 p.m.

Soldier, Come Home, a theatrical production by the Falcon Theater. Frank W. Wick’s play shines light on the struggles of the Civil War through a family’s correspondence between 1859 and 1865.

Newsreel Theater

10 a.m., 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.

The Siege of Cincinnati, a documentary by Paige Malott

10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Meet the man who engineered the Roebling Bridge, John Roebling

11 a.m. 

Lecture: Cincinnati Civil War Hospitals & the Sanitary Commission presented by Jack Simon of the Civil War Round Table


Lecture: Chickamauga and Chattanooga: Reputations Lost and Made presented by Pat Homan of the Civil War Round Table

2 p.m.

Lecture: General Lytle – Home Again presented by Mike Rhein of the Civil War Round Table

3 p.m.

Lecture: Harriet Beecher Stowe & the Politics of Slavery presented by Dan Bauer of the Civil War Round Table

Great Western Sanitary Fair (inside the Cincinnati History Museum)

10:30 a.m., Noon, 2 p.m.
& 3 p.m.

Live music from the Cincinnati Union Terminal Yard Hobos

11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.

Live music from the Allendale Melodian

11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

Poetry reading

Plus more fantastic Civil War programming all day, including a limited-run exhibit featuring Civil War artifacts from our collection!


Presented by the Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation


Activities on the front lawn, the Rotunda and Reakirt Auditorium are free and open to the public. Activities in the Cincinnati History Museum are free for Museum Center Members or included with museum admission. Call 513-287-7001 for more details.



Do you have Civil War-era items that you'd like to sell at Civil War Day? Fill out our application here.