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Perkins Mansion opens with Emancipation Proclamation exhibit

4/4/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Open houses planned at John Brown House

Summit County Historical Society volunteer Wayne Beck and Kara Treen, a University of Akron interior design student, are shown as they help get the newest exhibit prepared at the Perkins Mansion in West Akron.
Shown above on exhibit at Perkins Stone Mansion is a vintage Civil War era dress. Behind the dress is a print of Mary Rawson, Col. George Tod Perkins’ wife. George Tod Perkins’ portrait is shown below right. Perkins led a mission in the battle of Chickamauga.
Photos courtesy of Summit County Historical Society
WEST AKRON — The 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation will be marked with this year’s exhibit at the Perkins Stone Mansion.

The Summit County Historical Society (SCHS) site, located at the corner of Copley Road and South Portage Path, opened for the season yesterday, April 3, with regular tours.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863, and the document declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

“We wanted to highlight that document and help explain it better to the public how it made an impact on our community and the nation,” said Leianne Heppner, SCHS executive director. “It has been interesting.”

Intern Kyle Ward, a graduate of the University of West Virginia, is helping to assemble the exhibit.

“We wanted to focus on how it was received in Akron, which was a little difficult because it wasn’t covered very well,” he said. “We’re having to go to more national news, such as the New York Times.”

The exhibit is on the second floor of the Perkins Mansion.

Heppner said she also worked with The University of Akron design student Kara Treen to determine how the rooms of the home would have been arranged during the 1860s.

“A lot of people think the Civil War is all about the military side of it, but what we can do at a house museum is show what people at home were doing,” Heppner said. “We will continue to talk about the feminine side of war, and we’ll have out some quilts and clothing of a later time period.”

The home is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $2 for students and free for members.

The new exhibit continues the efforts made locally by the SCHS to commemorate the Civil War. The Perkins Mansion was home to three Civil War veterans.

Other planned events this year include:

  • The John Brown House, 514 Diagonal Road, will be open to the public free of charge May 23, June 27, July 25, Aug. 22 and Sept. 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. The home of abolitionist Brown features an exhibit on Brown, as well as an exhibit honoring the winners of the Summit Award.
  • The SCHS is partnering with Metro Parks, Serving Summit County to present a series of History Hikes. The free events will include information provided by a naturalist or local historian. Upcoming hikes will be April 22 at 11:30 a.m. for a Skywalk Tour of Downtown Akron; May 20 at 7 p.m. for a Trolley Tour of Glendale Cemetery; June 17 at 7 p.m. on Cascade Locks to Mustill Store; July 9 at 7 p.m. for a Walking Tour of Glendale featuring War of 1812 Soldiers; and Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. on Akron’s Historical District on Main Street. All walks will begin at the Akron History Exhibit at Lock 3 Park. Space is limited for tours using a trolley, so those who are interested should call 330-865-8065 for a reservation.
  • SCHS again will host a Civil War 150th Anniversary Commemorative Event June 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free event will include the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry with a Civil War encampment on the front lawn of the Perkins Stone Mansion. Live music will be performed from the front porch and free tours of the John Brown House and Perkins Mansion will be offered.

For additional information on events, call 330-535-1120 or go to www.summithistory.org.

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