Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cleaning Daze

     Every January the National Museum of Civil War Medicine closes for several days in order for the staff to do an in-depth cleaning, and to tackle any changes or repairs to the place.  It is a productive but exhausting process!  Today is the fourth and final cleaning day for 2012, and the place is looking great!

     My part in the process included moving artifacts and display cases out of areas which were being painted and recarpeted, then moving them back later, cleaning the insides of the glass exhibit doors in all the galleries, painting display cases, cleaning the galleries, helping to paint the museum store, installing two new displays, and replacing the pest strips in the galleries.

The base of a vitrine, or display case, which needs to be moved from its temporary storage place on the second floor, back to the newly carpeted and painted store/lobby area on the first floor.

Here it is back in place, and updated with different artifacts.  Since this year is the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Antietam, we are featuring artifacts associated with that battle here.

Here's a display of hospital items in one of the cases we got from the National Building Museum.  I just had to paint the base and replace the fabric in the interior.

And here's a new display at the entrance to our galleries, featuring some "myth-busting" items.  Two of the biggest myths we like to dispel are that Civil War doctors were butchers, and that patients had to bite bullets during surgery.  Civil War doctors were actually well educated and did the best job they could under the circumstances and with the knowledge they had at the time.  "Biting the bullet" is just false.  Chloroform and ether were both used at the time, and in the very few cases when anesthesia was not used, the patient would NOT have been given a bullet to bite.  Think about it; if you had a patient lying down for surgery, would you really want to give him something he could so easily aspirate or choke on?

The store got a facelift too!

And here's the museum's new entryway!  Doesn't it make you want to come and visit?
     It was a lot of hard for everyone on the staff, but the improvements are well worth the effort!

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine

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