Sometimes people ask us if the name on our sign is a typo. Don’t we mean “Tales”? Well, no, it’s not a typo. Both “tails” and “tales” are fitting for our museum! Our cats’ main purpose is to tell the stories of the individuals they portray. But we never have enough time (or space on the diorama information panels) to tell all of the stories, which is why we’re so excited about our new book.
Civil War Tails: 8,000 Cats Tell the Panoramic Story is more than a book about our museum. It’s a chance for us to tell many of the stories that don’t get told verbally.
Some stories are just a quick mention, such as that of Col. John Bowie Magruder during Pickett’s Charge. Rebecca always remembers him because two bullets struck him from different directions and crossed in his chest as he crossed the stone wall. We don’t know much else about him—but he is included on our diorama and now in our book. Even only a sentence or two helps us to remember that he was a real person with a life and a story, and much more than just a name.
Our book also allows us to share the context of our dioramas, giving better understanding of the importance of the events portrayed. For example, the even-handed duel between the ironclads, portrayed in our diorama, contrasted sharply with CSS Virginia’s bloody destruction of wooden ships the day before. Or, the events that led to the fighting on Little Round Top or Pickett’s Charge help us to realize that history-changing moments don’t just happen; there are always events and decisions that converge to cause them—and affect their outcome. This book allows us to share some of the “backstory” with our readers.
Civil War Tails is available for pre-order on Amazon and we will soon have copies available in our museum. We hope you enjoy our book, not only for the photos and stories of our dioramas, but also for the history of the real people behind them.