Monday, November 2, 2009

Civil War Museum of Philadelphia

What follows is the first article by Nancy, a promising new Hansisgreat correspondent. Nancy's interests include children's books, the Civil War, and horses. She currently maintains a ranch to care for elderly horses. She writes today on behalf of an important cause, reopening the Civil War Museum in Philadelphia, closed since 2008.

There are wonderful treasures to be discovered in Philadelphia, for those with a passion for the turbulent time of our heart-wrenching split between North and South. One treasure is open for all to see; the other has gone underground until a new home can be found, to display this fascinating relic of national significance.

Key players in the war have called Philadelphia home, such as General George Gordon Meade, the commanding general at Gettysburg. The equestrian statue to honor him is in Fairmount Park on Lansdowne Drive, directly behind the Memorial Hall, which is now the Please Touch Museum. The sculptor was Alexander Milne Calder, famous for his William Penn statue atop City Hall.

The statue is magnificent, yet challenging to get to and therefore largely unnoticed. The General Meade Society has a petition to move the statue to a more prominent place by City Hall. The petition is on the Society's website at www.generalmeadesociety.org

The other intriguing treasure is the precious head of General Meade's favorite war horse, Old Baldy. He was previously displayed with deep respect in the front room of Philadelphia's Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum at 1805 Pine Street.
The museum closed in August 2008, preparing to move to a fine location on South 3rd Street. Unfortunately, the funding was suddenly cut by the Pennsylvania government, leaving the museum in limbo, the collection in storage.

Hopefully a new location will be found, so Old Baldy and their excellent collection can be on display in time for the national events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, beginning in 2011. Information on the museum and updates on the search for a new location can be found at www.cwurmuseum.org

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