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October 2nd - November 21st, 2007


October 2nd through November 21st, 2007

The Italian-American Museum of New York is proud to announce a new exhibit entered around the bi-centennial celebration of the birth of General Giuseppe Garibaldi. “Revisiting Garibaldi”, will run from October 2, 2007 until November 21, 2007, and is curated by Anthony Dilluvio.

“This unusual and unique exhibit celebrates and commemorates the immigrant volunteers who fought for the Union during the American Civil War,” said Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa, President of the Italian American Museum. These soldiers were a diverse and independent minded group of individuals who were both inspired and motivated by the example set down by their hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi. Most came from Manhattan’s lower east side tenements, a hive of political ferment, and daily survival. Many were veterans of the failed revolutions of 1848-1849 in Italy, Austria, Berlin, Warsaw and Paris. Some even served with General Garibaldi during the ill fated Republic of Rome, and were under the penalty of death in their home lands. What they all had in common was their working class status, love of liberty, justice and America as beacon democracy.

“Each immigrant group attempted to form a regiment around their national origins, but were persuaded to consolidate under one banner, one flag, and one inspiration,” said curator Anthony Dilluvio. With his blessing, General Garibaldi agreed to lend his name to the regiment, so on May 26th, 1861, men from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Croatia and Hungary took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America, under their official designation, the “Garibaldi Guard”, 39th New York State Volunteer Regiment. During the same ceremony, the regiment received their three regimental battle flags. The Italian flag came directly from General Garibaldi, being his personal flag that flew over the ramparts of Rome in 1848, and containing his personal motto “DEO E. POPOLO”.

The regiment’s uniform was also unique. Dressed like Italian Bersaglieri, cock feathers and all, they march down lower Broadway to the cheers of New York’s multitudes. The United States Army called the Garibaldi Guard the most cantankerous unit in the service, and so they were. They were also one of the few units that fought for the duration of the war, receiving the appellation “Veteran”. They were at Bull Run, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Appomattox. They suffered prejudice, wounds, death by battle and disease, capture and mutiny. Some found ruin, others glory.

Our exhibit will include replica battle flags, uniforms, weapons and equipment used by the Garibaldi Guard. Lectures will be given, that will include the history of the Guard, and their mentor General Garibaldi.

The Italian American Museum is the first museum dedicated to preserving and presenting the cultural and social contributions of Italian Americans to the American way of life. The exhibit Revisiting Garibaldi is free and will be open to the public from Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment (212-642-2020) at 28 West 44th Street, 17th floor between 5th and 6th Avenues. Major funding for this exhibit has been provided in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Columbus Citizens Foundation

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