Music that defined the Civil War

Virginia Historical SocietyA new exhibition at the Virginia Historical Society is exploring music that defined the Civil War and civil rights eras. The recently opened “Revolutions: Songs of Social Change” exhibit is on display until January. The exhibit stems from a partnership with the General Assembly’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission as part of the commemoration the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It features American music memorabilia such as Pete Seeger’s banjo head, an original copy of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and an 1859 handwritten version of Dixie. The exhibit is broken into six sections: patriotic, sentimental, spirituals, freedom, dixie, and ballads. Virginia Historical Society officials say songs are cultural touchstones used to convey ideas, inspire patriotism, reward sacrifice, and encourage loyalty.