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Director’s Council of Public Representatives (COPR)

NIH Public Bulletin – June 2011

“Life and Limb” Exhibit Examines Toll of the Civil War

When: June 1–July 1, 2011
Where: NIH Campus, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD
Institute: National Library of Medicine (NLM)

An expanded version of the traveling exhibition "Life and Limb: The Toll of the Civil War" is on display at NLM.

This exhibition brings to light experiences of the more than three million soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Lasting from 1861 to 1865, the Civil War resulted in more than half a million deaths and nearly that many wounded soldiers. These men served as a symbol of the fractured nation and remained a stark reminder of the costs of the conflict long after the war.

The "Life and Limb" exhibit describes the damage caused by the era's weaponry, treatment for battlefield injuries, and the consequences of both for the young men who survived. The narrative highlights aspects of life after the amputation of a limb, which ranged from military service in the Veteran Reserve Corps to the use of artificial limbs in civilian life.

Next Steps

You can find out more by visiting the exhibition's Web site at The site features digitized images and documents, as well as educational resources for high school and undergraduate students.

This page last reviewed on August 24, 2012

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