This is a pretty decent museum , located on the Ft. Worth Loop, on the west side of the city. The building is new, with great facilities. The exhibits are well maintained and it has about an equal number of Confederate and Union exhibits. There is a large collection of Victorian era clothing for women and girls. http://www.texascivilwarmuseum.com/
The one thing that concerned me was the well produced documentary they show in the theater. The movie itself is about a half an hour long and is pretty well done. However, it is highly partisan, which is not a good thing from a historical perspective. It appears to follow the essentials of the "Lost Cause" mythology, propagated by the United Daughter's of the Confederacy in the last part of the 19th and first part of the 20th century. I'll give a few examples:
The movie states that Governor Sam Houston resigned his office, when Texas seceded from the Union. That is incorrect. Sam Houston declared the secession convention illegal, refused to recognize secession and was removed from office by the Texas Legislature for refusing to swear an oath to the Confederate government.
The movie presents Texas and its population as "wholly Confederate" in sympathies and in action. This is not validated by history. Most of North Texas and parts of the Hill Country were Unionist by a majority. There were at least four Union units made up of Texas citizens. Likewise, many Unionist Texans enlisted in other non-Texas, Union regiments. Some Unionist Texans, served the CSA after secession was a fact, but many of the Unionists refused to serve in the Confederate army or government, which resulted in two approaches. The first approach was official harassment by Confederate/State officials (The Great Hanging at Gainesville & The Nueces Massacre). The second approach was later an official offer by the Texas Legislature, to allow Texans who refused to serve in Confederate Forces, to enlist in frontier units, to keep the peace and protect against Comanche and Kiowa raids.
The movie skirts the entire slavery issue, especially in terms of the "Texas Troubles", which dealt with real and imagined threats by Abolitionists. This panic was paramount to the belief that the Republican Party and Abolitionists, were a direct threat to not only the economy of Texas and the South, but a direct threat to the lives and real (as in buildings, towns, farms) property of Texans and Southerners.
I am the descendant of Confederate veterans, men who did their duty, as they perceived it to be. I know most my ancestors did not own slaves and did not individually fight to protect slavery. They fought for reasons as simple as patriotism, to defend their homes and states from invasion or because it was a big adventure.
However, the teaching of history should be conveyed in a manner that is as unbiased as possible. The Union did not begin the fight to end slavery, that evolved as both a military tactic and later as means to prevent it becoming an issue in the future. While some Northerners of the time were for equality of all people, the majority were as committed to white supremacy as those in the South. Likewise, it is historically counter-factual for modern people to claim that secession and the war had nothing to do with slavery. Slavery was a Constitutionally recognized institution in the ante-bellum era, and was left each state on how to regulate or outlaw it. Slavery was the sticky mass that underlined all of the other issues, from State's Rights, to Tariffs to Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. Likewise, there were not two simple sides to the war, there were Unionist Southerners, Pro-Confederate Northerners, as well as the traditionally recognized partisans.
Last edited on Mon Nov 9th, 2009 08:30 pm by BDW1964