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Archivists examine local Civil War artifacts

Friday, September 28, 2012

(Photo)
Dyer County Commissioner Bill Cloar shares a Confederate uniform that once belonged to his great-grandfather, John E. Cloar from Obion County, with representatives of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Cloar was one of many who participated in a call-out for artifacts by the TSLA at the Professional Development Center in Dyersburg on Monday. A member of the Dyer County Historical Society, Cloar said he found the uniform in the attic of the home his great-grandfather built in 1874. 'He was a mule driver (in the Army),' said Cloar. 'He joined the Army real early -- at 17, I think.' TSLA personnel very carefully photographed each item of the uniform, closely documenting details like the buttons. Cloar will receive a disc with the images and the chance to share his family treasure with others while still keeping it close to home. From left, TSLA photographer Will Thomas, TSLA archivist Genny Carter and Cloar.
Tennessee residents with artifacts from the Civil War now have the opportunity to share their history and keep their possessions in their own family collections. Thanks to a five-year project by the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Dyer County residents earned a chance to have their items digitized and documented by professional archivists and conservators. The project is titled "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee."

In an effort to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, officials with the Tennessee State Library and Archives are traveling to the state to help residents document and preserve their Civil War-era manuscripts, artifacts and photographs.

The TSLA team arrived at the Professional Development Center in Dyersburg on Monday, Sept. 24, and found a steady stream of Dyer County history to record. Drums, rosters, diaries, weapons and uniforms from the Civil War are just a few of the items that were brought before the experts.

Each treasure was treated with the utmost care as it was scanned or photographed for posterity while never leaving the possession of the owner. The items will be displayed through an online exhibit. The archivists also provided advice on ways to care for the artifacts and documents.

Those participating received basic conservation supplies for their items, digital copies of the images and the opportunity to have their Civil War memorabilia preserved, digitized and shared online for future generations.

The TSLA team will continue its journey to counties throughout Tennessee, including a visit to Jackson scheduled Nov. 1 and 2.

(Photo)
Photographer Will Thomas with the Tennessee State Library and Archives carefully documents the Confederate uniform of John E. Cloar of Obion County. Dyer County Commissioner Bill Cloar shared his great-grandfather's uniform with archivists and conservators of the Tennessee State Library and Archives on Monday afternoon.
"We are trying to get to all 95 counties in the sesquicentennial," said TSLA archivist Genny Carter. "We invite the public to bring in what you have, items in private collections, letters, photographs, uniforms. ... (Our) online collection allows (residents) to share the items they hold privately and help us tell the story of what really happened in Tennessee. It is a fascinating project. We've seen all types of different things."

For more information, visit www.tn.gov/tsla/cwtn, email civilwar.tsla@tn.gov or call (615) 253-3470.



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