Friday, August 4, 2017

More Than Just Cannon: Exploring the Gettysburg Museum Collection

In my second week with resource management I got to take a more direct, hands on approach.
I worked with Gettysburg NMP’s museum curator. Gettysburg’s visitor center has an expansive museum all about the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. The museum is impressive, in part, because the National Park Service’s Civil War museum collection is housed here.

Looking down an aisle in the museum collection. Each box contains dozens of artifacts.

I began my morning by becoming more familiar with how museums operate and common Civil War artifacts. I knew very little about how museums function, and I enjoyed learning more about their purpose and function.
Learning about museums and Civil War artifacts
After becoming more familiar with the collection and educating myself, I was tasked with completing a random inventory check of the collection. Each and every item stored in the collection, from bullets to cannon, is assigned an identification number. Its location within the collection is also recorded within the museum database for reference. For a random inventory check I was given a list of randomly generated artifacts, and tasked with finding them to determine that they were still part of the museum collection, and if they were located in proper shelf, box, or cabinet. 

Searching through the museum collection for listed artifacts
 Although tedious at times, I had a lot of fun exploring the collection and searching for the artifacts I needed to inventory. I learned an awful lot about artifact preservation and storage and got to see a part of the park hidden from the public eye.

Various Civil War munitions and cannon balls

Rifles recovered from the battlefield

One of several cabinets filled with Civil War era weapons

Two canteens found on the battlefield. In remarkably good condition!

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