Explore Lincoln and the Aftermath of Battle at the David Wills House, Opening February 12
October 15, 1863 public notice by Gettysburg attorney David Wills seeking proposals for the removal of the dead on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
“After the battle, Gettysburg became a vast hospital and morgue: dead and wounded soldiers outnumbered civilians eleven to one,” – so begins the Battle’s Aftermath exhibit at the David Wills House, opening February 12, 2009, in downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as part of Gettysburg National Military Park.
Here is the text of today’s press release:
For the first time ever, the National Park Service has created a museum to tell the story of the aftermath of battle, and Lincoln’s visit to the give the Gettysburg Address. “The home of David Wills, a prominent citizen of the town, become ground zero in Gettysburg’s recovery effort, with Wills himself fulfilling the roles of the CDC, the Red Cross, and FEMA combined,” says Dr. John A. Latschar, Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.
In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday on February 12, the David Wills House will celebrate an official ribbon cutting, offering visitors a new look at the little-known story of the aftermath at Gettysburg and Lincoln’s visit to give the Gettysburg Address. Grand Opening events will take place throughout 2009 – Lincoln’s bicentennial year.
The museum includes seven galleries filled with displays, original artifacts, and featuring two films: “Battle Ground to Hallowed Ground” which explores Cemetery Hill’s transition from a Union army defensive position to the site of the National cemetery; and “A Brief but Immortal Speech” which investigates the meaning of the Gettysburg Address from November 19, 1863, to today.
Two rooms are restored to their 1863 appearance: Wills’ office as he received letters from families looking for loved ones after the battle and began planning for the cemetery and its dedication; and the bedroom where Lincoln stayed and prepared to deliver the Gettysburg Address.
Main Street Gettysburg will operate the museum located at 8 Lincoln Square in downtown Gettysburg, in partnership with the National Park Service. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places and has just had a $ 7.2 million overhaul to rehabilitate its historic features and develop the museum exhibits.
Winter operating hours will be Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In spring and fall the hours will be Tuesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In summer the hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
On February 12 admission will be free to all. Regular entrance fees will be $6.50 for Adults; $5.50 for Seniors; $4.00 for Youth (6-18); and Children 5 and under are free. For group tour reservations call toll-free: 866/486-5735.
Main Street Gettysburg is a nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation and economic revitalization of Gettysburg for the benefit of its citizens, businesses, and visitors. For information about the benefits of becoming a David Wills House Charter Guardian, contact Main Street Gettysburg at 866-486-5735 or at www.davidwillshouse.org.
Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History. Information is available at www.nps.gov/gett.