August 12, 2017 - January 21, 2018
Using artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection, as well as objects from local residents and the Columbus State University Archives, this exhibition examines the growth of civic-minded organizations in 19th-century Columbus and their contemporary counterparts. Mirroring nationwide trends, fraternal organizations and local militia units in Columbus, as well as their female auxiliaries, experienced a significant increase in interest and social activities after the Civil War. This rise in civic organizations reflected growing enthusiasm for philanthropy and so-called voluntary organizations. For African Americans, these groups were vital to staking claims as involved citizens ready to participate in a free society previously denied to them. The exhibition will also explore fraternal and civic organizations active in the area today, which continue to play a vital role in promoting a sense of community and civic philanthropy.