Liberty on the Border: A Civil War Exhibit

Discover the lines of a struggle that divided a young nation.

Invite your guests to explore the physical, cultural, and ideological borders shaped by the American Civil War just in time for the 150-year sesquicentennial observance in this nationally touring exhibition created by Cincinnati Museum Center.

U.S. state and regional borders shifted during the years leading up to the War, through the War years, and during various points from the end  of the War to the present. Individuals and local, state, and federal governments defined “liberty” differently—and often contentiously—especially when establishing and enforcing borders.

This exhibit covers three time periods:

  • Liberty Denied: The events prior to the Civil War;
  • Liberty's Trial: The Civil War years; and
  • Liberty's Legacy: How the Civil War has been remembered.

Through photographs and documents, touchable replicas and artifacts, backdrops and dioramas, hands-on interactives, audio visual effects, diaries, and music, guests come to understand why the War came about, and what impact the War has had on the cultural fiber of the United States.


  • 2,500 square feet minimum of floor space
  • Minimum of 10 feet of ceiling height
  • Additional electric for audio and light effects
  • Environmentally monitored space 


  • $23,000 for period of 13 weeks average
    • $5,000 deposit with signed agreement
  • inbound shipping in an amount not to exceed $10,000 (2 trucks)
  • On-site insurance during run period
  • Includes supporting educational and marketing materials


National Standards for US History (National Center for History in Schools)

  • Era 5—“Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)”
  • Standard 1—The causes of the Civil War
  • Standard 2—The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people
  • Standard 3—How various reconstruction plans succeeded or failed

Significant humanities themes (Social Studies Strands)

  • American Heritage and historical perspective (History)
  • Culture and Society (Sociology/Anthropology)
  • World interactions (Geography)
  • Decision making and resources (Economics)
  • Citizenship rights and responsibilities (Government and Civics)
  • Democratic processes (Government)

Content and take-home concepts

  • Guests discover how “borders” functioned between states during the war and how they served to both connect and divide people. They will see different definitions and interpretations of “liberty”—before, during, and after the Civil War. Lessons learned about the past are applied to the present.
  • Guests take away from this exhibit a greater knowledge of how current issues—racial inequality and violence, regional nativism, antigovernment sentiments, the construction and definition of what is “American”—are linked to the Civil War.

Itinerary (Revised 4/17/14)

Available for sesquicentennial observances. Please contact us at 800-733-2077, ext. 1-7061 or 1-7035 about availability beyond this published itinerary.

4/5/03–9/1/03       Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH (9,700 sq. ft.)
9/27/03–9/6/04     Owensboro Area Museum, Owensboro, KY
9/25/04–1/9/05     Sloan Museum, Flint, MI
1/29/05–5/30/05   Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI
6/11/05–9/11/05   African American Museum & Library, Oakland, CA
9/24/05–1/8/06     Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, CA
3/4/06–9/17/06     Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, WA
1/27/07–5/6/07     Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando, FL
5/26/07–1/6/08     Mill Springs Battlefield Museum & Visitor Center, Nancy, KY
1/26/08–9/8/08     Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, Kennesaw, GA
9/27/08–1/18/09   Frazier International History Museum, Louisville, KY
1/31/09–5/17/09   Western Heritage Museum & Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame, Hobbs, NM
10/2/10–5/8/11     Center for History, South Bend, IN
9/10/11–1/8/12     National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, OH
1/28/12-5/6/12      Charlotte Museum of History, Charlotte, NC
5/26/12-9/3/12      Hastings Museum, Hastings, NE
9/22/12-1/6/13      Gateway Museum Center, Maysville, KY
1/26/13-8/25/13    Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia, Beckley, WV
9/21/13-1/5/14      Durham Museum, Omaha, NE
5/10/14-8/9/14      Owensboro Museum, Owensboro, KY
10/4/14-1/24/15    Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA
2/23/15-5/8/15      Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT

Take a behind the scenes tour of Liberty on the Border on the road with Museum Center's emeritus Traveling Exhibits Coordinator, Kimberly Graham.

Watch this video now on Charlotte Viewpoint

Watch Liberty on the Border - Behind the Scenes on Charlotte Viewpoint.

Liberty On the Border: A Civil War Exhibit is a production of Cincinnati Museum Center. ©CMC, 2001


More information

Download Fact Sheet

Download Exhibition Prospectus


Sarah Lima
Exhibits Business Development Manager
Cincinnati Museum Center
513-287-7035, toll free 1-800-733-2077 ext. 7035



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