A Look Into the Museum Collection

Clara Barton Photograph
Clara Barton, CLBA-81


A museum curator is responsible for creating museum collections, often in specialist areas. They develop ways in which artifacts, archives, and artwork can be interpreted, through exhibitions, publications, events, and audio-visual presentations. Museum curators develop and design exhibits, organize exhibitions, arrange restoration of artifacts, identify and record items, organize loans and handle research inquiries.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) differs slightly from other museums. Part of the National Park Service (NPS), the GWMP is not simply one site, but a 25 mile scenic byway that includes the Clara Barton National Historic Site (NHS) and Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. The NPS also work in collaboration with the American Red Cross (ARC) in helping preserve the legacy and history of Clara Barton’s role. Specifically, the NPS maintains the actual Clara Barton NHS in Glen Echo, Maryland, as well as preserving the artifacts and personal belongings. These can range from the smallest sewing needle to rugs, furniture, rare books and personal correspondence of Miss Barton.

The preservation of these objects requires a vast amount of care. As the house itself is considered a historic object, museum curators are part of any repairs or upkeep that is needed. The main focus is making sure any personal objects or artifacts are kept protected while they are on display. In addition, NPS curators also inspect the objects to see if any repairs are needed. This is mostly done with the guidance of a conservator, but they need to be knowledgeable of the care of each material: metal, cloth, paper, ceramic, or painting.

A lamp
A lamp in the Clara Barton National Historic Site, CLBA-434


As we celebrate the accomplishments of Clara Barton and her founding of the American Red Cross, the National Park Service would like to open what is within our care and responsibilities to the public. We are diligently working on the re-opening of The Clara Barton NHS while the objects are kept in protective storage. Please do not hesitate to contact the Cultural Resource Management of the GWMP if you have any inquiries about the care of objects or history.

A Photograph Album
A Photograph Album, CLBA-189


A tea service set
A tea service set, CLBA-456


A Piano
A piano in the Clara Barton National Historic Site, CLBA-418


Last updated: December 7, 2021

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700 George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
McLean, VA 22101


301 320-1400

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