York Town Square

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Gettysburg’s Electric Map could countercharge – blinking on the new visitors center silver screen

In the final days of Gettysburg’s Electric Map’s showing in 2007, Mitchell Keiper visited the map while on a field trip from Wisconsin. A photo caption aptly summed up the recent story of the map. Some students said they thought the narrator’s voice was boring. Mitchell said he thought the program was interesting. Gettysburg National Military Park is seeking a solution to address both views. (Update. 2/20/15): The map has been relocated to Hanover, where it is being restored). Also of interest: Q&A on new Gettysburg visitor center, old Electric Map, Restored Gettysburg Cyclorama arriving in new home and Gettysburg’s Electric Map blinking in finale season.

The Gettysburg National Military Park’s Museum and Visitors Center is drawing high marks from patrons, The Evening Sun in Hanover has reported.
But many give a brief critique: “I really wish that you still had the map.”
Before demolition of the old visitors center, the map was taken apart and is now in storage.
Park officials are considering bringing back the map in video format, as this excerpted Evening Sun (9/13/09) story reports:

Their idea is to create a film “based on the Electric Map presentation” that would orient visitors to Gettysburg history — and give them an alternative to viewing the museum’s current film, “A New Birth of Freedom.”
The details of how it would work are still sketchy, but park spokesman Katie Lawhon said the Electric Map film has potential to create a better visitor experience.
“The common ground here is that for people who are coming to the park and they want to see the Electric Map, it’s a way to meet their needs,” she said.
Created in 1963 by Joseph Rosensteel, the Electric Map used lights to depict troop movements during the Battle of Gettysburg. It could be viewed by the public for $4 before the old visitor center on Taneytown Road was closed last April.
Though the Electric Map had originally been included in the park’s general-management
plan as one of three pay-to-see “interpretive venues,” park officials ultimately decided not to reopen the exhibit at the new site on Baltimore Pike. They cited a lack of interest from the public and an opportunity for new technology.
But before it was taken apart, the Electric Map presentation was filmed, Park Superintendent John Latschar said Thursday. The film is being edited, he said.
“When it’s ready, we’re just going to run an experiment,” Latschar said, adding that park officials have heard from many visitors who “desperately missed the map.”

The video format sounds like a reasonable way to answer a demand – placed on the table by many soon after the announcement of the new visitors center – to keep the map going.
In so doing, park officials are doing a nice job of changing their plan in their battle to gain funds and visitors and to give these patrons an optimum experience.
Here are a sampling of past York Town Square links to the Electric Map and Cyclorama:
Demolition unit will soon overrun old Gettysburg visitors center position.
Q&A on new Gettysburg visitor center, old Electric Map.
Restored Gettysburg Cyclorama arriving in new home.
Gettysburg’s Electric Map blinking in finale season.
Two developers have plans for a relocated Gettysburg Cyclorama building
Gettysburg Cyclorama critics: Reviews ranged from ‘huge dinosaur’ to ‘I was captivated’.
Half dozen groups probe acquisition of Gettysburg’s retired Electric Map.
Who is Bob Kinsley, builder of the new Gettysburg Visitors Center?.
Gettysburg’s vaunted Electric Map to soon stop blinking.
Shrink wrapping in Electric Map’s future; Gettysburg tooth heads south.