Collections from Maryland National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Maryland. We invite you to explore museum collections from Antietam National Battlefield, Catoctin Mountain Park, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Clara Barton National Historic Site, Fort Washington Park, Glen Echo Park, Greenbelt Park & Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Harmony Hall, Monocacy National Battlefield, Museum Resource Center, National Colonial Farm, National Capital Regional Office, Oxon Cove Park, Piscataway Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Site, Hampton National Historic Site, and Thomas Stone National Historic Site.

This headboard marked the temporary grave of Lieutenant Arthur W. Speight, 3rd North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America. Lieutenant Speight was mortally wounded during the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle of the American Civil War. In the days following the battle, the dead were interred in hastily marked shallow graves on the battlefield and at field hospitals. When the war ended, thousands of soldiers were removed from their temporary graves and interred at more formal places of remembrance. Union soldiers were interred in Antietam National Cemetery. Confederate soldiers were buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland; or, as in the case of Lieutenant Speight, at Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland.Graciously Donated by Doug Bast, Boonsborough Museum of History

Antietam National Battlefield, ANTI 13477

This straight peen hammer was used in the blacksmith shop at Catoctin Mountain Park. The blacksmith shop was one of the first buildings built in the park. The blacksmith made hardware for the cabins built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers after the park was established as a Recreation Demonstration Area in the 1930s. The blacksmith shop continues to be used for demonstration purposes today.

Catoctin Mountain Park, CATO 28

At the onset of the American Civil War, Clara Barton realized that a ready set of basic supplies was needed to aid wounded soldiers. She was determined to “render any aid possible to the weary and wounded men.” In addition to food, Barton secured bundles of “sewing utensils, thread, needles, thimbles, scissors, strings, salves, tallow, etc.,” to assist the soldiers. She worked with the military and government to ensure that soldiers, and the medical staff who served them, had medical supplies, rations, clothes, and other necessities. As president of the American Red Cross, she recognized the need for supplies and aid during natural disasters, conflicts, accidents, and emergencies.
Barton outlined a pioneer program for the American Red Cross. She noted, “There will be two distinct branches of this work. For the first an emergency case, similar to that in use in England, Germany, and other Red Cross Treaty Nations, and this has been adapted to Red Cross needs and methods under the direct supervision of the Medical Board of the Red Cross Hospital. It contains material and surgical dressings of the best class known to modern surgery. A most valuable part of the permanent equipment of this emergency case is a series of emergency charts, arranged for instantaneous reference, giving simple brief instructions for dealing with every conceivable case of accident, pending the arrival of the doctor. This chart is the combined work of a committee of eminent physicians and surgeons; and, apart from the admirable manner of its arrangement, may be regarded as the highest standard of authority upon first aid methods of treatment known to the world.”
“The other branch of the department will undertake the formation of first aid emergency classes in every city in the country. Ambulance corps will be formed among the employees of mills and factories, industrial corporations, railroad employees, the police, and employees of public departments. These employees will be drilled and instructed in first aid methods, and, apart from the value of the knowledge they will obtain for local use and service, they will form an efficient force to draw from as helpers in great national calamities.”

The first American Red Cross Emergency Cases started production in 1903. Miss Barton’s vision of teaching emergency response and first aid for the injured took shape.

Clara Barton National Historic Site, CLBA 1519-1543

Private Charles Tower served with Battery A, 4th Artillery Regiment, at Fort Washington from August 1, 1898, to March 8, 1899. Private Tower took several photos of soldiers and life at Fort Washington. Some of those photos included structures at the fort. This photo is of a 10-inch gun in an unknown battery. This is one of four rare photos that show the 10-inch guns at Fort Washington during the late 1800s.

The 10 inch guns were part of a new defense system, consisting of rifled steel guns in concrete emplacements. Fort Washington was an active post from 1808-1939. Work on these concrete batteries began at Fort Washington in 1891. The next year ground was broken for Battery B, later named Battery Decatur and the guns were mounted in 1896. Eventually eight concrete batteries at Fort Washington and four at Fort Hunt across the Potomac River made up the Potomac Defense Command. In 1939 it was turned over to the Department of Interior. In 1941, with the outbreak of World War II, it was turned back over to the Department of War. In 1946, it was turned back over to the Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

Fort Washington Park, FOWA 13438

Glen Echo Amusement Park was the Washington metro area's premier amusement park for more than 50 years until its closure in the late 1960s. It was originally established as the 53rd National Chautauqua, an arts educational center, in the 1890s. It later became one of the region's first trolley parks. However, throughout most of its history the park was segregated.

In the summer of 1960, a group of protesters consisting of students from Howard University and the surrounding community of Bannockburn in Montgomery County, MD staged a series of protests and sit-ins decrying the segregationist policies of Rekab Inc., the company that ran Glen Echo Amusement Park. The featured flyer was handed out by protesters throughout the summer of 1960, explaining their cause and how members of the community could support the group.

The protests, which included sit-ins at the iconic 1921 Dentzel Carousel in the park, sparked off counter protests by pro-segregation groups and were a part of a wave of similar protests taking place across the National Capital Region in the 1960s. As a result of these protests, when the park opened to the public for its next season in 1961 it was as an institution open to all members of the surrounding community.

Glen Echo Park, GLEC 229

This white-clay tobacco pipe bowl was found at Greenbelt Park. While the phrase "Home Rule" is often associated with the District of Columbia this clap pipe's rouletted rim and stamped "Home Rule" reference the political history of Ireland. The "Home Rule" stamp sits above a harp sitting on two springs of shamrocks. This pipe is an example of one of many styles that emerged during the Irish Home Rule Movement. The "Home Rule" movement originated in Ireland in support of Irish independence from British Rule (1870- 1918). It became popular in the United States among the Irish immigrant communities around 1879. This pipe, and others of similar design, was a way for the Irish immigrants to display their pride in their homeland and show support for their fellow countrymen back in Ireland. It is uncertain where this pipe was manufactured. They were often made in Ireland, Scotland and Holland.

Greenbelt Park, GREE 1833

This is a dark olive green early wine or spirits bottle from one of the most intact, oldest historic period archeological sites in the National Capital Region, and is remarkably intact. This bottle was free blown, meaning it was made by hand by a glass-blower. It is globular bodied or “onion-shaped” with a fire polished finish. It has a “sand type” pontil. It is likely that this bottle is of English or Dutch manufacture, and then transported to the early colonies sometime between 1690 and 1720. Bottles of this type would have been a common household item in the Colonial Period, but many of them have not survived.

Harmony Hall, HAHA 1367

The National Park Service Museum Resource Center (MRCE), a unit of National Capital Region (NCR), serves as the central curatorial facility for museum collections not currently on exhibit at the various historic homes and properties administered by NCR. The center and the staff serve as the stewards for the care and preservation of well over 5 million museum objects from NCR parks. Though stored and cared for at the center, the parks still manage their collections. In addition to the park collections housed at MRCE, the center is responsible for a significant archive of photographs that document the history of the National Capital Region. The primary focus of this fascinating image archive is to document significant events in Washington (such as the 1964 March on Washington, Vietnam War Protests, the Cherry Blossom Festival, and the lighting of the National Christmas Tree). In addition, the archive traces the many landscape and architectural changes to the monumental core of Washington, DC from the 1920s to the present. Many photographers contributed to this archive, including the famous NPS and Presidential photographer Abbie Rowe.

We selected this image by NPS photographer Abbie Rowe taken in 1963 from the top of the Washington Monument looking westward towards the Lincoln Memorial. The historic landscape of 1963 bears little resemblance to the wide-open space that visitors and locals experience today. The federal government built the array of buildings on what we now know as the National Mall during WWI and WWII to provide office space for the thousands of military and civilian employees assisting America's war efforts. These buildings were part of the Washington landscape until President Nixon ordered the last of them demolished in 1969.

Museum Resource Center, National Capital Region, MRCE 722

For nearly 70 years, the land that is now Oxon Cove Park was a hospital farm called Godding Croft Farm. St. Elizabeth's Hospital bought the property in 1891 to produce food for its ever-growing number of patients. The hospital was founded in 1855 to care for the mentally ill people of Washington, D.C. and the U.S. military. Dr. William Gadding, Superintendent of St. Elizabeth's, established Godding Croft Farm for patients with less severe disabilities to receive therapy from farm work. In turn, these patients produced food for the main institution at St. Elizabeth's.

St. Elizabeth's was a bold project for its time. It was originally designed to hold 250 patients in the world's most modem hospital for the mentally ill. But, before the first building was completed, the outbreak of the Civil War forced the government to use much of the new hospital for wounded soldiers.

St. Elizabeth's operated three separate farms. It provided a helpful and instructive occupation for the patients and supplied the hospitals with fresh food. One of the farms called Shepherd Farm or the Home Farm do to its location on the hospital grounds, had the diary, and some crops. Patients who worked at this farm worked the fields, repaired fences, cut weeds, cared for the animals, and were involved in milking process too. The farm also bottled its own milk.

Oxon Cove Park, OXCO 163

This is a Selby Bay side-notched point found in Piscataway Park, Maryland, on the eastern bank of the Potomac River. Piscataway Park's archeological record encompasses more than 11,500 years of human history and occupation, reflecting a diversity of cultures. This particular projectile point, called Selby Bay to reflect a patterned style of manufacture, was made by American Indians from 200 to 800 CE. Interestingly, it was made from rhyolite, a non-local stone. The closest source for rhyolite is located at least 95 miles away in the prehistoric rhyolite quarries of Catoctin Mountain Park in western Maryland. Prehistoric individuals would have travelled to the quarries at Catoctin to obtain the material and bring it back to Piscataway to make their tools, or tools were made by individuals living near the quarry and traded to groups that lived along the Potomac, including at Piscataway. They travelled so far for this material because it was easier to make stone tools out of than locally available stone. This particular projectile point has been used, worn, and resharpened until it was no longer usable, and was discarded by the prehistoric American Indians.

Piscataway Park, PISC 17801

This groundstone ax, with its full groove and distinct wedge shape, is one of only a few prehistoric items within the ASIS museum collection. These prehistoric objects provide evidence of Native American use of Assateague Island for fishing and hunting.

Assateague Island National Seashore, ASIS 1668

This rare image depicts a key moment in American history during the War of 1812. The original painting was the basis for the earliest known print view (later published by John Bower) of the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which began on September 13, 1814. The view was taken from the observatory tower on Federal Hill in Baltimore, looking southeast toward the fort on Whetstone Point, with the British ships in the harbor beyond. Maryland lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key, observing from a truce ship the valiant defense of the fort during the 25-hour bombardment, was inspired to write the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which would become our national anthem. The painted image also includes numerous other original details related to the event, including the famous “bombs bursting in air” and the ships scuttled by the Americans to prevent the navigation of enemy ships. This watercolor view was acquired by Fort McHenry NMHS from the family of a descendant of the likely original owner, Dr. John Buckler of Baltimore. Buckler is recorded as having been a member of the Baltimore Fencibles, a volunteer artillery company which served at Fort McHenry during the bombardment.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, FOMC 15586

The Ridgely family of the Hampton Estate in northern Baltimore County helped to establish the longstanding equestrian tradition that Maryland still enjoys to this day. For almost two hundred years, horses and equestrian activities played a major role in daily life at Hampton. The racing and breeding of thoroughbred horses reached its height under Hampton’s second master, Governor Charles Carnan Ridgely, said in his day to be “very famous for race horses.”

In 1803, Governor Ridgely purchased what would become his most renowned champion, Post Boy. Foaled in 1800, Post Boy lost only two races over his career. He twice won the prestigious Fifty Guinee Race Cup at the Fall Races for the Washington City Jockey Club. The 1805 “Post Boy Cup” trophy has a portrait of the horse engraved by Francis Shallus. Post Boy’s fame was so great that in January 1809 a $10,000 bet was proposed that he would beat Potomac at the Washington City Jockey Club Race Course the following October. Sadly, the race never took place as Post Boy broke his leg in a race two weeks prior to the meet.The “Pegasus” winged horse finial on the top of the trophy is removable. The domed lid can then be used as a separate punch bowl, while the base becomes a loving cup to be passed around to celebrate a racing victory.

Hampton National Historic Site, HAMP 5000

This frock coat belonged to Major Peter Vrendenburg of the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. This regiment was known as “The Monocacy Regiment” because their first assignment was to protect the Monocacy Junction in Frederick, Maryland in 1862. They were stationed at the junction for nine months, and then returned as reinforcements at the Battle of Monocacy in July 1864. Several letters from Vrendenburg to his mother have enriched the story of the battle, the regiment’s time at the junction, and civilians involved. In one letter he describes having breakfast with Col. Keefer Thomas on the Araby Farm the morning of the battle. He had become friends with the family while stationed at the junction, and even left his hunting dog, Dash, in their care when the regiment left the junction to join the 3rd Division of the 6th Corps after the Battle of Gettysburg. The day of the battle, while his unit was in reserve near the Thomas House, Vrendenburg went into the house to check on the family who were hiding in their cellar. Then he went through the house to lock drawers and retrieve a basket of silver and other valuables the family was collecting for safe keeping. His letters provide us with an intimate look at both the soldier and civilian experience during the Battle of Monocacy.

It is believed that Vrendenburg was wearing this frock coat when he was killed at the Battle of Third Winchester on September 19, 1864. As he led the regiment against an enemy artillery battery, he was hit in the throat by an unexploded 3-inch shell and killed instantly.

Monocacy National Battlefield, MONO 25989 and MONO 25990

On August 2, 1776 Thomas Stone, as a member of the Maryland delegation to the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence, which officially severed ties between the Colonies and Great Britain. Signing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Stone pledged his life, his fortune, and his honor to support the Colonies' independence. We honor his commitment at Thomas Stone National Historic site. This commemorative engraving of the Declaration of Independence was made by Benjamin Owen Tyler in 1818 and presented to signers of the original Declaration or their families. The engraving stayed in the Stone family until Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stone presented it to Thomas Stone National Historic site in 1996. Today it is exhibited in the house at Thomas Stone National Historic Site.

Thomas Stone National Historic Site, THST 3090

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: Antietam National Battlefield, Catoctin Mountain Park, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Clara Barton National Historic Site, Fort Washington Park, Glen Echo Park, Greenbelt Park & Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Harmony Hall, Monocacy National Battlefield, Museum Resource Center, National Colonial Farm, National Capital Regional Office, Oxon Cove Park, Piscataway Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Site, Hampton National Historic Site, and Thomas Stone National Historic Site.

National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff: Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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