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‘Promise of Freedom’ extended

“Promise of Freedom,” the exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, has been extended at the Fairfield Museum & History Center.

Originally scheduled to close Feb. 24, the exhibit will now remain open through Sunday, March 3.

Featured in “Promise of Freedom” are rare Lincoln-signed copies of the proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery, along with an 1833 copy of the Declaration of Independence and a range of civil rights images and related memorabilia on loan from area collectors.

On Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2:30, the museum will host a special lecture, “Men of Color, to Arms.” David Koch, assistant professor of history at Housatonic Community College, and David J. Naumec of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center will discuss African-American troops before and after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Koch will focus on the 29th and 30th Connecticut regiments, which saw service in the Civil War and ushered in an era of sweeping change in the state’s treatment of its African-American citizens.

Naumec will examine the role of people of color in the Northern and Southern military prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, and how their presence in Union and Confederate armies helped shape the perceptions and policies of politicians and military leaders.

The original call to arms from impassioned abolitionist Frederick Douglass echoed the overwhelming sentiments of nearly 190,000 Africian-American troops that joined the Union cause for the promise of freedom, according to Christine Jewell, museum director of education and community programs.

While the suggested donation for the “Men of Color, to Arms” lecture is $5, the museum will continue to offer $2 off admission fees for this program and the duration of the exhibition to any visitors bearing ticket stubs from the movie Lincoln. The movie has increased attendance for the Promise of Freedom exhibition by about 20%, according to museum staff.

The Fairfield Museum and History Center (www.fairfieldhistory.org) was established in 2007 by the Fairfield Historical Society. The 13,000-square-foot museum presents engaging exhibition galleries, a special collection library and reading room, a family education center, an 80-seat theater overlooking Fairfield’s town green, and a delightful museum shop. The museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Fairfield and surrounding regions for present and future generations. The museum provides educational programs to schools in and around Fairfield County, and helps to enrich the cultural and social life of the area. The museum has quickly become an integral part of Fairfield, serving more than 18,000 visitors a year.

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