Michigan’s Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum
152nd Anniversary of the Grand Army of the Republic
April 7: 10 AM - 5PM, April 8: Noon - 5 PM
On the night of April 6, 1866, in Decatur, Illinois, 13 veterans of the Union Army of the Civil War, led by Major Benjamin Stephenson, gathered in an upstairs room in a small, unassuming brick building. Little did they realize that the organization they were forming would have so much influence on the country they fought to save. The organization that was created that evening was the Grand Army of the Republic. It would end being one of the largest and most influential veterans’ organizations this country has ever seen with virtually every northern state legislatures, Congress, and five presidencies occupied by members of the Grand Army. Among the many issues advocated by the G.A.R. was legislation to benefit both current and future veterans, the promotion of May 30th as Memorial Day throughout the country, and endorsement for the right to vote for women. The organization would last over 90 years and help to establish later veterans’ organizations including the Spanish American War Veterans, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. It also sanctioned the creation of five Allied Orders of the Grand Army of the Republic that still exist today to ensure the legacy of Grand Army.
Michigan’s remembrance and commemoration of the 152nd anniversary of the Grand Army of the Republic will take place with a special Open House on Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 10 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday, April 8, 2018 from Noon to 5 PM at Michigan’s Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum (224 South Main, Eaton Rapids, Michigan). In addition to the two floors of Grand Army artifacts and memorabilia, many other special G,A.R. exhibits will be on display throughout the day in the 1886-built former G.A.R. Post building. Two full floors of special exhibits relating to the 90-years existence and accomplishments of the Grand Army will be available for viewing. A special 152nd birthday cake in honor of the Grand Army will be served on Saturday and refreshments will be served both days. Finally, on Saturday, experts also will be on site to help you identify and evaluate artifacts you may have from most any U.S military era.
Michigan’s G.A.R. Memorial Hall and Museum is the only such museum in the state that is exclusively dedicated to ensuring the memory, deeds, and accomplishments of the Grand Army of the Republic and its members in Michigan’s 460 plus Posts are not forgotten. The Museum is free to the public.