The National Museum of Civil War Medicine
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is a storehouse of exhibits and artifacts devoted to the technological and procedural advances made in the medical field between 1861-1865. The Museum is committed to effectively weaving the narrative of suffering soldiers, caregivers, their families and the dramatic and innovative developments in medical treatment. The Museum utilizes its collection to heighten public awareness of the modern medical practices that originated on the battlefields and in the hospitals of this once divided country. Interactive educational programs, exhibits, seminars and lectures provide the knowledge that Civil War medicine connects us not only to our past, but is the scientific and historical link to our present and our future.
The Museum houses a world-renowned collection of over 1,500 original artifacts relating to medical care in the American Civil War. Most of these historic objects have either been donated to the Museum or are on long-term loan from private collectors and other museums. Among the many artifacts currently on display are: surgical instruments used by Union and Confederate medical staff, various pharmaceutical bottles and containers, medical knapsacks and panniers, stretchers and litters, prosthetic devices, dental tools, a recruiting drum, Union and Confederate surgeons' frock coats, a hospital steward's uniform, a table used for amputations at a field hospital during the battle of Cedar Creek, a Union Army hospital flag that flew over the hospital at City Point, Virginia, and the only known surviving surgeon's tent from the Civil War.
Well over half of the Museum's collection is attributed to the generosity of NMCWM founder and chairman, Gordon E. Dammann, D.D.S. Dr. Dammann has collected Civil War medical artifacts for over thirty years and has amassed one of the finest collections in the world. He has authored the Pictorial Encyclopedia of Civil War Medical Instruments and Equipment, Volumes I, II, and III, and is widely recognized as an expert on medical care in the Civil War.
Throughout the exhibits are special blue panels that highlight the military career of Union Private Peleg Bradford. In his own words, Bradford tells us his thoughts on the war, the condition of his regiment and the effect his enlistment had on the family he left behind.
Throughout the year, the Museum hosts events tailored to enlightening the public on the practice and ways of yesteryear.
In addition to the Frederick, Maryland location of the Museum, they opened a second site at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, located in the Philip Pry House on the Antietam National Battlefield, in April 2005. The Museum feels that the layout of the Pry House and grounds makes it perfect for use as an interpretive center. The house is large and very well restored. The rooms on the first floor house interpretive exhibits focusing on battlefield medicine during the Civil War and the Battle of Antietam as a medical watershed. The exhibits highlight the history and use of the Pry House during the battle; the set up and running of the field hospital system; the surgeons, nurses and civilian caregivers who aided the wounded; the officers treated at the Pry House; the effect of the battle on the civilian population; and the medical innovations of Jonathan Letterman. One room is a re-creation of a Civil War field hospital scene typical of those established in local homes.
The historic barn on the property can be used for group lectures, concerts, programs and as a staging area for battlefield tours and military staff rides. The grounds will see considerable use as an outdoor activity center, youth group campsite, and summer day camp. All of these activities complement the current Museum site in Frederick without duplicating exhibits or uses.
Interpreting the medical aspects of the Civil War is a perfect fit on the battlefield. The Pry House is located at 18906 Shepherdstown Pike (MD Route 34), on the Antietam National Battlefield between Sharpsburg and Keedysville, Maryland.
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is located at 48 East Patrick Street in Frederick. Call 301-695-1864 to sign up for any of the above functions.