Archaeology adds to prison's history
Northwest Ohio is home to the only Union Army Civil War prison specifically designed to house captured Confederate officers. Johnson's Island Civil War Prison near Marblehead continues to reveal tantalizing details about the war and the men who served on both sides. The Hayes Presidential Centers latest exhibit - Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed shares information learned from archaeological exploration of the prison site.
The exhibit, funded by the Sidney Frohman Foundation and the Friends & Descendants of Johnsons Island Civil War Prison, opens May 1, 2014 and continues through Jan. 4, 2015. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $7.50/adult, $6.50/seniors age 60+, and $3/children ages 6-12.
Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed advances the history of Johnsons Island with facts uncovered since the 1965 publication of Rebels on Lake Erie - the seminal history of the prison written by Charles E. Frohman. Collaboration with David R. Bush, Ph.D. of Heidelberg Universitys Center for Historic & Military Archaeology, makes possible the display of numerous artifacts recovered from the site during excavations of the prison latrines. Personal stories of prisoners and guards gleaned from diaries and letters enhance the understanding of prison life, the war, and how the two were inter-related. A visual timeline chronicles the prisons creation, arrival and treatment of prisoners, and diversions POWs employed during their imprisonment, including jewelry making, theatrical productions, and photography. An episode of the History Channels History Detectives is included in the exhibit. It explores the amazing story of a particular Confederate officer who fashioned a camera a plank of wood and a small oyster tin to produce photographs of his fellow prisoners.