Fort Detrick, MD


Other Installations > Fort Detrick, MD > Local Museums
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Fort Detrick, MD Fort Detrick, MD Housing
            LOCAL MUSEUMS          RELOCATION
Local Museums

Frederick County is widely considered to be a "crossroads" of the Civil War and contains many historical sites, museums, and tours on the subject.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine houses 1,200 artifacts and many displays on medicine, surgery, and nursing during the 1800s, especially the Civil War, and how it has helped to shape medicine today.

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum is a fine example of 1758 German colonial era architecture and one of the city's oldest buildings. Built by a German immigrant and his family, the house now stands as a museum about its architecture, immigrant history, and what life was like at the time of the French and Indian War.

The War Correspondents Memorial Arch is one of the only monuments in the country dedicated to journalists who died during war. It is located at Crampton's Gap in Gathland State Park, the site of the Battle of South Mountain during the Civil War. The arch was built by one of the war's youngest correspondents, George Alfred Townsend, and several of his own personal buildings still stand, including what is now a museum about the man himself.

Barbara Fritchie House is the home of Barbara Fritchie, a local woman who was on the Union side of the Civil War and, as legend has it, waved the Union flag at Stonewall Jackson as the Confederate troops rode by her house. Whether this actually happened is up for debate, but Fritchie was quoted in a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier about respecting the flag and her home, now a museum, still holds many of her belongings.

The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum proudly displays over 250 years of fire and rescue equipment, pictures, and displays about the history of Frederick County. Prized antique firefighting vehicles include a 1821 hand tub pumper by the Rogers Company in Baltimore, a 1893 hand-drawn horse cart by the Charles C. Holloway Company of Baltimore, and a 1939 Ahrens-Fox piston pumper.

The Hessian Barracks is an L-shaped building circa 1780 that served many purposes, some of which included serving as a Civil War hospital and housing German prisoners during the Revolutionary War, a state armory, school for the deaf, and agricultural fairgrounds during the mid-1800s. Today the barracks showcase Civil War weapons and an antique kitchen and schoolhouse.

The John Hanson National Memorial is a dedication to an often forgotten man in history; the country's first president under the Articles of Confederation, the original government called the United States in Congress Assembled which preceded George Washington's presidential term. The memorial and the John Hanson Memorial Association strive to keep the knowledge of Hanson and his important contributions as a Founding Father alive.

The Walkersville Southern Railroad operates train tours through historical Walkersville in antique train cars from the turn of the century. The railroad also offers special events throughout the year, dining tours, and has a museum near the depot station with model trains and historical railroad artifacts on display.

Monocacy National Battlefield is the site of the Battle of Monocacy in the summer of 1864. Lieutenant General Early led 15,000 Confederate troops to take Washington DC, which had been left largely defenseless after a Union loss. However, Union General Wallace was alerted and defended the invasion with only 6,500 men. Today, the battlefield offers beautiful scenery and interpretive displays about the battle, as well as walking and nature trails.

Antietam National Battlefield is the site of the single bloodiest day in the Civil War where nearly 23,000 soldiers were killed or wounded. It was the first attempt by General Lee to invade further north in September of 1862. Today, visitors can explore the battlefield and remaining buildings, such as Pry House Field Hospital Museum, take a ranger-led tour or a self-guided auto tour around the battlefield and learn about what happened that fateful day.

Since Frederick and much of Maryland was so involved in the Civil War, there are plenty of opportunities to see and experience historical sites and buildings that were a part of the action. Maryland has adopted the Civil War Trails system where most sites are well marked and are easy to tour.

Although Washington DC may be an hour away from Fort Detrick, the nation's capital has a large number of national monuments, institutions, and historic sites. A short list includes the National Mall (which is not a shopping center) site of many monuments to presidents, other national figures, and heroes of US wars; the US Capitol Building, the White House, and the US Supreme Court Building are all available to tour, although times and seasons are limited and access restricted. The Smithsonian Institution is the national museum, with 17 branches in the DC area alone, 11 on the National Mall. The Library of Congress is open to the public, although the public may not check out books.

Washington DC has countless other museums, including many dedicated to art, historical, science, and culture. All are worthy of mention (although there are too many to list here!) but just a few include the National Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the Marian Koshland Science Museum.

Baltimore is also just about an hour's drive from the fort and, like Washington DC, has a lot to offer in the way of museums, art, historic sites, and entertainment. Here are just a few of the more well-known activities and things to see: Baltimore Museum of Art, the American Visionary Art Museum, Fort McHenry national monument, Historic Ships in Baltimore museum, Maryland Science Center, and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, featuring historically important African American figures.

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