Years before African-American rights were assured by law, countless individuals sacrificed for their country, taking on roles in the Civil War that were essential to caring for and preserving life. Many of these stories are never told.
The goal of the National Library of Medicine exhibit, “Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine,” currently at the Central Park Campus Library, is to honor these stories.
After two years of negotiation, Bobbie Long, executive director of the Central Park Campus Library, secured “Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries” as Collin College’s first National Library of Medicine exhibit. The display began May 28 and will run through July 6.
Long said the library knew they wanted a national exhibit, but much consideration went into deciding which to pursue.
“Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries” deals with two large areas of study at Collin College – nursing and the Civil War,” Long said. “It just fit.”
Running concurrently to the national exhibit, is a more local exhibit provided by the Collin County Historical Society and Museum, featuring Civil War artifacts from Collin County.
Some of these artifacts include historical memorabilia such as a McKinney family quilt made during the 1860s, a Sibley stove used in the Civil War to warm the tents, a ceremonial Confederate captain’s uniform used for reunions of confederate soldiers in Collin County and photos from Collin County residents who went to war.
Student Amy Glazier said the combination of the national and local exhibits is perfect.
“It gives you an idea of what was going on nationally at the time, but also adds the visual element of how everything affected Collin County, as well,” Glazier said.
Long said she thinks the sharpshooter glasses are the most exciting artifact for students.
“The tiny glasses have two small round circles in the middle that allowed the sharpshooter to focus on his target,” Long said. “Students laugh when they realize all the equipment we have today and the different versions of it we had back then.”
The exhibit has received a positive response, Long said. One man, who happened to be walking through the library, visited the exhibits with his son and was so excited about its message and content, he came back later with his entire family.
The library hopes to continue this type of exhibition in the future. They also hope to partner with a local group, like Collin County Historical Society and Museum, again in order to broaden the experience. Possible future exhibits include “Every Necessary Care and Attention on George Washington and Medicine” in 2014 and “There’s the Humor of it: Shakespeare and the Four Humors” in 2016.