Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Museum by the Numbers

     One of the requests I get at the museum is for statistics about the museum and the museum’s collection.  Usually the requests are from Museum Studies students, and I am glad to help them.  I do get some of the same questions (but not quite so many of them!) from museum visitors though.  So, based on the questions I hear the most, I thought I’d share a few facts about the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

     How big is the museum?

The museum building may not look that big from the front, but we actually have about 7000 square feet of exhibit space, divided between two floors.  Our visitors can see artifacts on display in our nine galleries.

     How many artifacts do you have at the museum? 

That number constantly changes as we acquire and borrow new artifacts.  Right now there are over 3400 items in the collection, and about 1000 of them are on loan to us.  About 30% of them are out on display, and about 6% of our collection is out on loan to other institutions.

     Where do you have artifacts on loan?

Currently we have artifacts on loan to museums and libraries in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Colorado.  This alarm clock, which belonged to a Civil War Surgeon, is on loan to the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell, Virginia.

     How many people are at your museum?

There are 18 staff members and about 40 volunteers who work at the NMCWM.  Our annual visitation is around 35,000 people per year.

     How many mannequins are in the museum?

We have 35 mannequins currently on display; 31 are in the main museum and four are out at the Pry House.  I'll also mention that the banjo in this scene was made by our museum's director!

     I posted last week about one of the favorite parts of my job.  So, what’s the least favorite part of my job?

Changing the light bulbs!  There are over 50 light tracks in the museum’s galleries, most of which have multiple fixtures.  Because I have to keep a log of the bulbs, I know that in the past year I have changed 102 light bulbs.

That’s a lot of light bulbs!
     Thank goodness it's just a small part of my job here!

 Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

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