The historic collections of the National Capital Region contain many treasures, from tiny figurines to historic furnishings. Millions of objects have been collected by the National Park Service to document the history of the Mid-Atlantic region over the past few centuries. These include the collections of many important historic sites such as: Antietam National Battlefield; the last home of Frederick Douglass, Cedar Hill; the oldest surviving building in Washington, D.C., the Old Stone House; and the house where Clara Barton spent the last fifteen years of her life and which also served as the early headquarters of the American Red Cross.
Out of the millions of objects in these collections, only a small percentage can be displayed on-site in the parks. The rest of the collections are housed at the Museum Resource Center (MRCE). MRCE provides safe, secure, and environmentally stable storage for these vast collections and offers opportunities for research on objects currently not on exhibit. The facility also supports parks during major phases of restoration, when many of the objects on exhibit or in storage are temporarily moved to the Center. Some objects within the historic collections of the National Capital Region are too large or too fragile to be on exhibit in the parks. These are kept in long-term storage at MRCE, where they can be given the proper care needed for their continued preservation.