Civic Spirit

August 12, 2017 - January 21, 2018
Galleria Cases

  • Masonic penny created by Columbus Masons
    Gift of a Friend of the Museum

  • Odd Fellows robe
    Gift of the Columbus State University Archives

  • Knights of Pythias financial account book used by Columbus resident John Thomas
    ca. 1900
    Gift of Miss John Maurice Thomas in memory of her parents John H. and Amelia W. Cantey Thomas and her sister Alma Woodsey Thomas

  • Knights of Pythias ceremonial helmet worn by Columbus resident Max Banner
    Gift of Teresa Banner

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.

Civic Spirit is made possible through the Edward Swift Shorter Bequest Fund.

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