We’ve all heard the jokes about the food in hospitals being terrible. Were the meals different for Civil War soldiers in the hospitals? After all, they didn’t have Jell-O back then!
I was recently cataloging the book “The Hospital Steward’s Manual,” by Joseph Janvier Woodward, published in 1862. It contains a section titled, “Cooking in Hospitals” which not only lists the foods served to the patients, but the recipes (or “receipts”) as well! The opening section reads, ... read more
Civil War soldiers endured many hardships during the time they served. Though they couldn’t do much about the long marches and short supplies, many of them did find ways to cope with the loneliness and home-sickness. There are many recorded instances of soldiers bringing pets from home, or adopting pets they found, as a way to provide companionship and to boost their moral. Sometimes an animal would be adopted by the whole regiment as a mascot.
In searching the ... read more
It’s time to take a look at another one of my favorite artifacts!
I discovered that Dr. Ritter wrote a book to accompany his medical chests, "A Medical Manual and Medicine Chest Companion". Though it pretty much starts as an ad for his product, this book also contains a list of the medicines in the chest along with their uses and dosages, “recipes” for some of the remedies of the time, and a guide for treating various ailments.
Here’s what Dr. ... read more
If you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll probably remember that I’ve been working on putting together a display for the trunk bed of Clara Barton’s which is on loan to us from the American Red Cross. Though it took just a bit longer than expected, it is finally out on display! The case which housed the Clara Barton exhibit here at the NMCWM was too small for the trunk bed to be displayed open, so I had to do a little rearranging first.
I ... read more
I’ve been working on a big project here at the museum for the past couple of months, and I can finally share it with you. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s artifact collection is now online! I’ve been advocating for this feature for a couple of years now, so I am very pleased to see it finally available to the public. Now anyone who wants to find out about a particular artifact at the NMCWM can simply search for it online. This should be a great help to students, educators, re-enactors, ... read more
One of the NMCWM’s recent donations is an original plate taken from the “Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” which is also referred to as the “War of the Rebellion Atlas.” This atlas was published by the Government Printing Office in Washington D.C. in 1895, and was compiled by Captain Calvin D. Cowles of the 23rd U.S. Infantry. It was published in 36 volumes, and contained 175 plates of maps, illustrations, and technical drawings from both ... read more
This week, I hope you don’t mind if I step up on my soapbox for a minute! The following article was brought to my attention recently, and I think the topic of letting the public handle museum artifacts is worthy of a bit of discussion. It’s a short article, so go ahead and read it here:
Now I certainly understand about incorporating some hands-on exhibits for the visitors. In ... read more
If there’s a little known hero of the Civil War, it has to be Dr. Jonathan Letterman. I was reminded of that recently when the founder of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Dr. Gordon Dammann, gave a lecture on Dr. Letterman and his Letterman Plan. Maybe you’ve never heard Dr. Letterman’s name before, but your life has probably been affected by his work. The Letterman Plan, which is a system for treating and evacuating casualties from battlefields, is the basis for many aspects ... read more
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?
How many artifacts do you have ... read more