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All Members' Meetings and other programs are open to the public with a suggested donation of $5. 

Doors open at 7:00 for refreshments and the program begins at 7:30 in the Parish Hall of the Mystic Congregational Church.

For more information, please contact MRHS at or call 860-536-4779 during office hours.


May 22, 2019

Annual Meeting and Speaker


Rebecca Bayreuther Donohue  “Cover Them Over With Beautiful Flow’rs:” How We Memorialise the Civil War.  

Over 150 years after its official institution, Memorial Day has become just what the Westerly Narragansett Weekly warned against: “the day is… not in any sense a time for pleasure excursions, or merry makings of any kind.” A mere eleven years after the official end of the War Between the States, however, we don’t have to second-guess our motives - the memories are fresh, and the veterans still live amongst us.  But the past is rarely black & white, and 19th-century arguments regarding the proper remembrance of the War are confronting us historians today. In this presentation, Rebecca Bayreuther Donohue will discuss the national origins of Decoration Day, the local traditions behind Mystic Seaport Museum’s moving 1876 ceremonies, and the modern controversies surrounding the memory of the American Civil War.   

Rebecca Bayreuther Donohue has overseen Mystic Seaport Museum’s Decoration Day ceremonies for the last fifteen years.  As the foreman of the Museum’s first-person interpretive Roleplaying Program, she has spent nearly twenty years in 1876, researching aspects of history that connect the microcosm of Mystic’s maritime culture to the 19th-century world at large. She is also the Living History Chair and the Grounds Chair at the Cromwell Historical Society's 1853 Stevens-Frisbie House.




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