On Saturday, April 28, Sewell will once again don the famous top hat and perform his "The Life of Lincoln: From the Log Cabin to the White House" program at the Civil War Comes Alive! event in Cartersville. In his presentation at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., he will recite the Gettysburg Address, which Lincoln delivered in November 1863.
"I'm inspiring [people] to soar with the eagles and become whatever they want to become," Sewell said, adding his fiancee, Xylona Wheale, will portray Lincoln's wife at the upcoming event. "[It is important for children] to read lots of good books, pay attention to teachers and parents and never give up in the pursuit of their goals. Lincoln never gave up.
"Lincoln had a lot of political failures, store failures, Marfan's disease, the death of close [family] members -- his sister, his father, his mother. Two sons died before he did. So he had a lot of political losses, a lot of store failures, a lot of medical issues, sadnesses, and he never gave up. He still was a great man. And historians that have [been] questioned, whether they be college professors or whatever, typically have voted him as the best president we've ever had out of all 44. He cared about the people and he cared about the country."
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the event -- presented by the Bartow History Museum and the Booth Western Art Museum -- will be held annually in April through 2015.
"It's just a way to raise awareness of some of the things that went on during the time period, to learn more about the people that lived and fought during the war," said Trey Gaines, director of the Bartow History Museum, 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville. "Bartow County certainly was affected by the war. We had guys that went off to fight in the war but the war came and went right through Bartow County toward the end of the war. So we certainly felt the affects of the war.
"So it's just a great opportunity to experience some of the sights and scenes that those that were living here at the time would have seen. ... This year we've really tried to add some new things to the day [like] more soldiers are coming. The 8th Regiment Band is coming back. We also have a new band coming to do a concert called 'Historical Echoes.' And we also have another new addition this year -- a group that will do a dramatic reading of soldier letters. The letters were written by the black soldiers involved in the war. So we've got a lot of new things this year that we've added and just encourage everyone to come out and be a part of it."
While Civil War Comes Alive! will not feature any battle re-enactments, there will be numerous presentations and displays on the grounds of the Booth -- 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville -- from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Along with Confederate and Union Infantry camp scenes, other "stations" range from life on the home front and music to a medical/hospital tent. Cannon firing demonstrations will occur at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
With various living-history displays scheduled, Gaines believes they will serve as educational tools to enhance a person's understanding of the Civil War.
"I think with the demonstrations, the visitor actually gets to experience the event more so than just reading about it or even watching something about it," Gaines said. "For example, you hear about cannons and things like that but to really experience what it was like to be around a cannon and have it work is to stand there next to it and watch how it was loaded and watch how it was fired and hear the 'boom' and feel the 'boom.' So I think it's just a great way to really experience what was going on."
Admission to the event will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for students, $3 for children 12 and younger, and free for Booth members, Bartow History Museum members and active military personnel with identification. Along with entrance into Civil War Comes Alive!, the admission fees will gain visitors access into both Cartersville museums.
"At the History Museum, we have a permanent Civil War exhibit that will be available," Gaines said. "We'll also be doing children's activities throughout the day in the museum. And then at the Booth museum, they have a Civil War art gallery.
"They'll also be showing a local production done several years ago on the Great Locomotive Chase in the Booth Theatre, and that will be showing on a loop all day Saturday."
For more information about Civil War Comes Alive!, call 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org or www.bartowhistorymuseum.org.