After holding a soft opening in early November, the Fort Scott National Historic Site officially opened a new Civil War exhibit for the community to visit during the weekly Chamber Coffee hosted at the fort Thursday morning.
“Finally, after a lengthy time, we were able to get these exhibits installed,” fort superintendent Betty Boyko said of the project, which took years of waiting for funding and then planning before it was finally completed in recent months.
Both Boyko and former fort employee Kelley Collins, who was recognized for the time she spent working on the exhibits before leaving the fort in January of this year, said their goal was to update the previous exhibit to be more appealing to a younger generation that is interested in more interaction.
The exhibit follows numerous characters, including a slaveholder, abolitionist, slave, Native American and others throughout the years leading up to the Civil War and throughout the war itself. Videos of these characters’ different perspectives run throughout the exhibit, with some of the characters played by Fort Scott residents.
“There’s enough in the exhibit that every time you come back you’ll find something new,” Collins said.
Bill Fischer was also recognized for his key role in the exhibit, which he said included much planning, hiring different contractors for their construction and for the video and audio, as well as editing of all the information to make sure it was accurate and politically correct.
The exhibit was completed in time for the beginning of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary to be celebrated throughout 2016. Some of Fort Scott’s events to coincide with the anniversary include a vintage baseball game, Native Neighbors in October, Picnic in the Park in August and other events throughout the year with the fort as the theme, such as part of the Good Ol’ Days.