Earlier this week the founder of the museum, Dr. Gordon Dammann, gave a tour of the museum for the staff and volunteers. While it may seem strange to take a tour of a museum you’ve worked in for years, he singled out some of his favorite artifacts and treated us to some stories we hadn’t heard about them. Over half of the artifacts we have here at the museum were either donated by Dr. Dammann or are on loan to us from him, so that adds up to a lot of stories!
|This drum is in our Recruiting gallery because it was used to help “drum up” new recruits. Dr. Dammann told us the story of its pre-museum life as a coffee table. Yes, I cringed a little when I heard that!|
|I’ve written about this Civil War Surgeon’s tent here. I think this is Dr. Dammann’s very favorite artifact! He told us about acquiring it from the family of the surgeon, and about displaying it at Civil War shows and in three presidential libraries before it was put on display here. It is a well-traveled tent!|
|Another favorite artifact is a rather ingenious little eating utensil designed for patients with an amputated hand or arm.|
|Here’s a closer look at the combination knife and fork. It has an ivory handle, three regular fork tines, and a small, sharp blade in place of a fourth tine. The user could cut and spear portions of food using only one hand.|
|Peleg Bradford’s prosthetic leg is another of Dr. Dammann’s favorite artifacts. He told us the story of acquiring the leg, and his resulting search for more of its history. He eventually was able to track down some of Peleg’s descendants and the letters which are on display in the museum. Having more of the leg’s history not only makes for a more compelling display, but it teaches us more about the lives of the people during the Civil War. [See my post about Peleg Bradford here.]|
Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.