About the Exhibition

The American Civil War is one of the defining events in American history. To commemorate its 150th anniversary, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library presents the exhibition, Torn in Two: 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. This multimedia display takes a geographic and cartographic approach to exploring and illuminating the causes of the conflict, the conduct of the War and how the War was remembered in later years. It showcases 50 historic maps interwoven with 40 photographs, paintings, prints, diaries, political cartoons, music and press of the period, all from the Boston Public Library’s special collections.

Rising Tensions

The exhibition is divided into three major temporal sections. The initial section, “Rising Tensions,” examines the economic, social, and political differences between North and South that led to war. “Nation in Conflict,” focuses on the War itself—the strategies and how it was conducted as well as how those at home followed the War’s progress and contributed to the war effort. And the final section, “Remembering Heroes,” documents the nation’s attempts to commemorate the battles and honor the lives that were lost during the War.

Our Nations Heroes

The exhibition is on display from May through December 2011. The Library and the Map Center are also sponsoring extensive educational outreach programs including guided tours, Lowell Lecture Series presentations, family events, a fully illustrated catalog, educational programs for grades K to 12, and interactive elements—computer stations with touch screen activities, scavenger hunts, and identity cards. A virtual exhibition will be featured permanently on the Map Center’s website.

The exhibition and a national tour are sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance. WGBH is the public media partner.

Boston Public Library

Phone: 617-536-5400
700 Boylston Street
Boston MA 02116


Monday–Thursday   9am–9pm
Friday & Saturday   9am–5pm
Sunday (through May 22)   1pm–5pm

© 2011 Boston Public Library|The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center|Raka