Bainbridge Island Review


History comes alive with ‘Territorial Voices’

February 7, 2014 · 12:24 PM

Washington’s Territory’s first governor, Isaac Stevens, seated in this photo taken in South Carolina in 1862, served as a Union general. He was killed in the Battle of Chantilly that same year. / Photo courtetsy of the Library of Congress

Take a trip back in time and experience the Civil War, without ever leaving the safety of the library.

Island Theatre and Humanities Washington will present “Territorial Voices: A Civil War Readers Theatre,” an interactive performance piece revealing varied opinions on the subjects of race and slavery from Washington State’s own history at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16 at the Bainbridge Public Library.

It can be easy to forget in present America that the Civil War actually involved the entire nation, and that Washington territorial residents were deeply involved in its major issues. As the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War continues, historian Lorraine McConaghy, a member of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, has developed an interactive, living theater piece in which audience members are invited to read the words of ordinary settlers, territorial military, and administrative leadership.

The reading will be preceded by a brief lecture to set context, and followed by a conversation about the ideas and themes raised by the communal theatre. Through the presentation, participants will realize the changing significance of words like “Democrat” and “Republican,” and learn about historical opinions about race and slavery in the area.

The event is free; donations are appreciated.

McConaghy is a public historian who has devoted her professional life to researching and teaching Pacific Northwest history. At Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry, she has curated a series of successful projects, including the museum’s core exhibits "Metropolis 150" and "Essential Seattle," as well as "Blue vs. Gray: Civil War in the Pacific Northwest."

McConaghy teaches in the museum studies program at the University of Washington, and her work has been honored by the Washington Museum Association, the Oral History Association, the National Council on Public History and the American Association for State and Local History.

The Bainbridge Public Library is located at 1270 Madison Ave. N.



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