A couple of months ago I posted about making some changes to the museum’s Recruiting gallery. You can read that post here: http://guardianoftheartifacts.blogspot.com/2013/08/making-changes-to-gallery.html
This week we added the remaining displays to the gallery. There were no artifacts involved this time, but we did install two new interactive displays for our visitors.
One of our new displays is titled, “How Do You Measure Up?” It allows visitors to measure themselves against silhouettes of Civil War soldiers to see how they compare in height. Both armies had guidelines concerning a soldier’s height. The Union Army had a set minimum height of 5’3″ since they believed smaller men would be unable to stand the rigors of the march, and a preferred maximum height of 6’3″ since larger men would be more easily fatigued. These guidelines were not always followed, since there are records of men who didn’t fall within them.
The other new display is “On the March.” It deals with the items which the soldiers carried with them. A typical Civil War soldier carried over 50 lbs. of equipment while on the march, and an average days’ march was 20 miles. Items which the soldiers typically carried were a gun & ammunition, a knapsack, a haversack, food rations, a canteen, a few personal items, a blanket, an overcoat or rubber blanket, and a tent or shelter half.
Museum visitors can try lifting the knapsack and musket on display here. The knapsack is much heavier than it appears!
So, how would you measure up – would you make the cut as a Civil War soldier?
Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.