The daily life of a Civil War soldier explored at talk

Local Civil War collector Tom Oestreicher will speak at the Sycamore History Museum's Brown Bag Lunch.
Local Civil War collector Tom Oestreicher will speak at the Sycamore History Museum's Brown Bag Lunch.

SYCAMORE – The Civil War impacted our country on a grand scale, but have you ever wondered what the daily life of the Civil War soldier was like? As part of the ongoing Brown Bag Lunch series, the Sycamore History Museum will host local Civil War collector and educator Tom Oestreicher to speak about collecting Civil War artifacts and the daily life of the soldier during the war.

Oestreicher will speak at noon on Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St. in Sycamore.

Oestreicher has been collecting Civil War items since he was 13 years old. With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, interest in collecting is at an all-time high. This talk will focus on the ins and outs of building a collection, but he will focus particularly on the daily-use items soldiers carried with them.

“Lots of people collect the weapons and uniforms of the Civil War, but we often forget the hardships these soldiers faced in their daily lives and the items they needed to survive the adverse conditions they faced,” Oestreicher said. His collection includes items soldiers carried for eating, sleeping, and entertainment.

“We are very excited to have Tom share his knowledge as part of our Brown Bag lunch series and his collection as part of our current exhibit, ‘General Dutton’s America,’ which highlights the life of Gen. E.F. Dutton and his service with the Illinois 105th,” said Michelle Donahoe, Sycamore History Museum’s executive director.

Oestreicher has lectured on Civil War themes in six states, including a 10-site lecture series in Hawaii in 2007. He is the author of three books on Civil War themes and has given over 500 public lectures. He is a well-know local educator who has taught courses on the Civil War at Kishwaukee College, Northern Illinois University, and Sycamore and Genoa high schools.

This event is free and open to the public, and donations are welcome.

Bring your lunch, and SHM will provide coffee and cookies. For more information, call 815-895-5762 or visit

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