Gettysburg National Military Park’s museum collection consists of approximately 1.2 million artifacts, manuscripts, and works of art that document the Battle of Gettysburg, the American Civil War, and the development of Gettysburg National Military Park. The collections consist of four primary components: archival documents, archeological materials, historical artifacts, and works of art.

Paper hospital bed tag mounted on a rectangular tin sleeve. Information on the tag includes: John D. Weaver/ Private II/ 11th Pa Vols./ Disease of the flesh, wound right thigh, by solid shot. John D. Weaver enlisted as a Private for 3 years in Co. I
Paper hospital bed tag mounted on a rectangular tin sleeve.

NPS Photo

Archival and archeological materials are the largest volume part of the collection. Archival collections include photographs, books, and documents (including government archival and resource management records). Archeological materials consist of artifacts uncovered during compliance testing for park property improvements and historical landscape survey projects.

Historical artifacts are primarily military objects dating from the middle of the 19th century – ranging from arms and munitions to insignia and personal equipment. Their focus is primarily on the Battle of Gettysburg, but these also document the greater Civil War experience beyond Gettysburg. The largest single source portion of history collection is the Rosensteel Family Collection, acquired by the National Park Service in December 1971 from the Rosensteel family of Gettysburg.

The Cyclorama painting as seen from above. Numerous colorful lights are above on the left, the painting curves around from right to left, and a large diorama is in the center.
The Cyclorama painting as seen from above.

NPS Photo

Art holdings include paintings (the largest being the 1885 Gettysburg Cyclorama painting by French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux), drawings, sculpture, and folk art. The collection also contains a limited number of historic structure and landscape elements preserved from historic structures and monuments currently or once on the battlefield. The park’s museum collections support a multitude of interpretive and resource stewardship operations across the park.

Visitors move around inside the cannon gallery inside the park museum.
Visitors move around inside the cannon gallery inside the park museum.

NPS Photo

The park’s primary philanthropic partner, Gettysburg Foundation, owns and manages the artifact collections from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia (formerly the collection of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States), supplementing the park’s Civil War collections. Artifacts from both collections are exhibited in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, the David Wills House, and selected parks and museums nationwide.

The museum collection grows primarily through the accumulation of archival and archeological material generated by the National Park Service through its daily management of the battlefield itself. The historic and fine art sections of the collection grow primarily through donations by members of the general public, Gettysburg Foundation, and other public supporters.


Museum Collection Preservation

Preserving the historic archival and museum collections at Gettysburg National Military Park is a multi-faceted task. From passive protection (like maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels in both museum exhibits and storage), to regulating light levels for artifacts while on exhibit, to actively stabilizing or restoring historical artifacts, archival and museum collection preservation projects ensure the continuing enjoyment and study of the park’s historical documents and artifacts. Here you will find more information on efforts being undertaken by the park – sometimes with generous support from its philanthropic partners – to preserve historical collections.


Ongoing Collections Preservation

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    Last updated: July 27, 2023

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    Gettysburg, PA 17325

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