Gettysburg Museum Collections Now Available Online

Union drum
Wooden US Army regulation tenor drum recovered from the Gettysburg Battlefield soon after the battle.  From the collections of Gettysburg National Military Park.

(National Park Service)

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News Release Date: May 27, 2014

Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121

One of the biggest National Park Service (NPS) artifact and archival collections is at Gettysburg National Military Park with a wide array of educational objects and historical records. Now more than 40,000 images and catalog records for the Gettysburg collection can now be found online. To see the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum Collections page click here. The online feature also includes archival finding aids which provide much more information about this important Civil War battlefield. Finding aids are a useful tool for learning even more about many aspects of the national parks through online PDFs and image collections.Gettysburg includes an extensive photograph collection capturing life during the period of the Civil War and beyond. The Civil War Soldier Collection displays the portraits of various soldiers who fought throughout the war. In addition, Gettysburg has a large collection of general photographs that record images taken by park staff to document park operations, events, property, and surroundings. The William H. Tipton Photographic Prints, 1863-1931, are from original negatives created by William Howard Tipton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a prominent Gettysburg photographer who, as young boy, assisted local photographers in documenting the aftermath of the battle. The core of the Tipton collection is in the National Archives.

"The online catalog will allow Gettysburg researchers all over the world to access the core of our collections remotely," said Ed W. Clark, Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park. "This project will improve the public's understanding of Gettysburg's material culture, the events of the Civil War, and the efforts that have been made to preserve the battlefield since the guns fell silent."

"Preservation will also be enhanced by showing the public the treasures that the park holds and the worthy mission the NPS undertakes here to protect these treasures and make them accessible," added Clark. The NPS WASO Museum Management Program, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, ReDiscovery Software and park staff completed the project over the past year.

Maps and drawings comprise a large share of the finding aids within the Gettysburg collection. For example, Bureau of Public Roads Improvements Drawings  from 1934-1936 describes blueprints received and approved by the National Park Service and Gettysburg National Military Park as part of road and walkways improvement projects. The Gettysburg National Military Park Maps and Drawings describes maps, plot plans, architectural drawings, engineering plans, road layouts, and topographic sketches of various buildings, monuments, and land tracts within Gettysburg National Military Park and the surrounding area from 1933-Present.

Finally, the letter collection provides a vast assortment of letter written during this crucial period of American history and offers a detail and in-depth look at what life was like at this time. The Thompson Papers include the many letters and papers associated with Captain James Thompson, including the discharge letter for Captain James Thompson from the Pennsylvania light artillery volunteers on June 13th 1865.The William King Letters contain several letters written by William F. King of the 18th Massachusetts Volunteers during the Civil War. These letters offer valuable in-sight into the daily lives and struggles of soldiers fighting during the war.

The project is an important accomplishment in the NPS's "A Call To Action" initiative number 17,Go Digital,which calls for transforming the NPS digital experience by creating user-friendly online resources and social media opportunities.

Last updated: March 16, 2015

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