ANTIQUES ROADSHOW seeks to balance cultural sensitivity with its aim of examining the full spectrum of America's antiques and collectibles.

ROADSHOW appraisers have remarked many times that there must be nearly as many reasons to collect as there are collectors. That is surely true in the case of antique artifacts and mementos connected to some of the most painful periods of our country's history — whether those reasons be to celebrate and memorialize, to learn and teach, or simply to preserve long-honored pieces of a family's heritage.

Objects originating from the era of the American Civil War and its aftermath, particularly those with some relation to the Confederacy, are poignant examples.

While important distinctions must be made between the wide variety of all possible Civil War artifacts — from momentous documents like General Lee's order surrendering the Confederate troops or a front-line soldier's touching letter home, to rare weapons and uniforms, or bullets, buckles, and buttons — the inevitable connection of many of these items with the Confederate cause is justifiably distasteful or offensive to some viewers.

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW respects and remains mindful of these sensitivities and evaluates each object we see on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of educating our audience about the historical and cultural significance of objects brought in by our guests and supplying context about the vast American marketplace for all kinds of antiques.


About the Author Luke Crafton
Luke Crafton is ANTIQUES ROADSHOW's director of digital content.