“Muscatine and the Civil War: Letters Home” film premieres October 23

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Muscatine Living

Daniel Parvin Letter (JPG)MUSCATINE, Iowa – A series of short films will introduce local residents to Muscatine Civil War soldier Daniel Parvin letters to home written from 1861 when he enrolled through his recovery from a gruesome battle injury in 1864.


Muscatine and the Civil War: The Letters of Daniel Parvin” will premiere October 23 on Muscatine Access Channel Nine. The short film features Bryce Taylor as Daniel Parvin and Courtney Gevaert as his wife Sarah Parvin reading excerpts of Parvin’s letters home. 


The Muscatine Art Center’s collection contains 117 Parvin letters that served as the centerpiece for this project, as well as the original middle school outreach project presented during the 2018-19 school year and the “Muscatine and the Civil War” exhibition on view from June 2011 through May 2012.


“The film project was in response to COVID-19,” Melanie Alexander, Muscatine Art Center Director, said. “When it became clear that outreach presenters would not be allowed into classrooms as planned, we pivoted to short films for teachers to build into their lesson plans.”


Although developed for use in the classroom, anyone interested in the Civil War or local history can visit the Muscatine Art Center’s website for the YouTube links or watch on Channel 9. The film series was produced by Chad Bishop, narrated by Chris Causey, and filmed at a variety of locations in the Muscatine area including Strawberry Farms Bed and Breakfast, Weed Park, Wildcat Den State Park, and Muscatine Community College’s video studio. 


The film project, along with the original outreach program, was funded in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Historic Resource Development Program. The original outreach program involved a set of actors dressed in costume presenting Daniel Parvin’s letters as reader’s theater. The actors used a variety of props and reproduce primary sources such as maps, letters, photographs, and documents to help middle school students understand daily life for Iowans who served in the Civil War. The props and other materials will remain in the Muscatine Art Center’s education kits and will become available for educators to check out in the future.


“One of the project goals was to bring the Civil War to life for students,” Katy Loos, Muscatine Art Center Program Coordinator, said. “Daniel Parvin’s words take us to the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Vicksburg, but he also describes the food, getting sick and wounded, and the quality of the clothes and blankets. It’s important to follow in the footsteps of one man so we can imagine how regular soldiers experienced discomfort, injury, and separation from family and friends.”


The films are presented in six segments beginning with an introduction that summarizes Daniel Parvin’s life. Segment two follows Parvin through enlistment and training. The next segment spotlights Parvin’s first taste of action at Pittsburgh Landing. Segment four covers daily life in camp near Corinth followed participation in the Siege of Vicksburg in segment five. The last segment describes Parvin’s injury during the Atlanta Campaign and his hospital recovery followed by some details about Parvin’s life after the Civil War.


When and Where to Watch


October 23: Film series premieres on Muscatine Access Channel Nine at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

October 24 – 26: Film airs on Muscatine Access Channel Nine at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Starting on October 26: Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org or Muscatine Access Channel Nine’s YouTube channel to watch anytime.


ABOUT THE ART CENTER – The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admisison is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure. Please contact Katy Loos, Program Coordinator, with any questions about our upcoming programs at 563-263-8282 or by email at kloos@muscatineiowa.gov.

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