Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Exhibit at the Missing Soldiers Office!

     It seems that I have been writing about the preparations to open the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office for quite a while now.  It takes a lot of work to open a new museum!  There has been quite a lot for us to do; especially since the space needed restoration work done before we could tackle developing exhibits for it.  However, I’m happy to report that the museum’s official opening is imminent. 

     While we wait for that, let’s take a look at what is happening there now!

The Welcome Center on the first floor of the building now has a wonderful mural called “Washington in Wartime – A Capital in Crisis.”  Tours of the Missing Soldiers Office will start here.

Next, visitors can ascend the same steps which Clara Barton used to get to her third floor boarding room and office.  It’s a bit of a climb, but is definitely worth the effort!

If you’ve seen my previous posts about the Missing Soldiers Office, this hallway is probably familiar by now!  The doors to the Missing Soldiers Office are to the left, and Clara Barton’s room is at the end of the hall to the left.

     Though the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office is still a work in progress, we have recently been able to put the first exhibit in the space!  “Bringing the Story of War to Our Doorsteps: Rediscovering Alexander Gardner’s Antietam Photographs,” was created as a collaboration between the NMCWM and the Frederick County Civil War Round Table, with support from Hood College of Frederick, MD.  If it looks familiar to you it is because it was first exhibited in the fall of 2012 at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum on Antietam National Battlefield.  You can read more about that exhibit here. 

The exhibit, which is located in the room used as the Missing Soldiers Office, uses photo reproductions in the same dimensions as Alexander Gardner’s original photographic images.  The images are displayed in the same manner as they were 150 years ago, complete with magnifying glasses for the visitors.

     Though none of these images are of Clara Barton, these images from the Antietam Battlefield relate to her because this was where she first served as a relief worker during a Civil War battle.  They also relate to her Missing Soldiers Office, where she identified many of the soldiers who were killed on this and other battlefields.  It is a very fitting opening exhibit for the CBMSO.

Across the hall, another room is set up to show the images in 3-D.  The original photos were shot with stereoscopic cameras, so this allows visitors to view them in the way they were originally intended.

     The CBMSO is now open just on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and this exhibit will run through May 18th of this year.

I hope you can come out for a visit.  Marcie and Garrett are eager to show off every detail of the museum!

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

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