Saving History Saturday (on Wednesday Evening): Adams County Historical Society to Build New Exhibit and Education Center

For Gettysburg fans, there’s big news this evening from the Adams County Historical Society (ACHS), which announced plans for a new $5 million Exhibit Gallery, Archives, and Education Center.

“For more than 80 years, we’ve amassed a collection that tells the story of one of America’s most famous communities,” said ACHS executive director Andrew Dalton. “Now is the time to create a worthy home for our unparalleled collection. Without the Historical Society, the memory and legacy of this incredible place would cease to exist.”

Tomorrow morning, we’ll share an exclusive ECW interview with Executive Director Andrew Dalton. In the meantime, we’re pleased to offer a sneak peak of the new facility. Read on for details, including the ACHS’s press release, diagrams of the building floor plan, and more.

Pennsylvaina’s Adams County Historical Society launches multi-million-dollar campaign to build state-of-the-art facility to protect irreplaceable relics

(Gettysburg, Pa.)The Adams County Historical Society (ACHS) preserves some of Gettysburg’s rarest treasures, and many of national significance—a program from Lincoln’s famous address, thousands of relics gathered from the battlefield, personal belongings of esteemed abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, Native American projectiles, dinosaur footprints, and so much more. To ensure that these priceless, tangible links to the past survive for future generations to study and appreciate, ACHS has launched a bold, $5-million-dollar campaign to construct a new Exhibit Gallery, Archives, and Education Center.

“For more than 80 years, we’ve amassed a collection that tells the story of one of America’s most famous communities,” said ACHS executive director Andrew Dalton. “Now is the time to create a worthy home for our unparalleled collection. Without the Historical Society, the memory and legacy of this incredible place would cease to exist.”

The only downside of being blessed with such robust holdings is that the society has long outgrown its current home, which was always meant to be temporary. The building itself, an aging Victorian home in Gettysburg, also poses immediate risks to the collection it houses.

“Our current facility lacks important temperature and humidity controls, and there is no fire suppression system,” said ACHS Capital Campaign Chair Jacqueline White. “We worry every day that these incredible resources—the very soul of Gettysburg and Adams County—could deteriorate further or be lost if we don’t act now.”

The new facility—set to open by fall of 2022—will be built  just north of Gettysburg near a portion of the First Day’s battlefield. The 29,000-square-foot complex will house artifact-driven exhibits that explore centuries of Gettysburg and Adams County history through the eyes of ordinary citizens of all ages and backgrounds.  According to ACHS historian Timothy Smith, “the interactive galleries will draw heavily upon hundreds of incredible, first-person accounts of events like the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln’s Address.”

View from Site of New Facility (Barlow Knoll)

In addition to exhibits, the new facility will feature hands-on programming, a stunning event space overlooking Barlow Knoll on the battlefield, and a first-class archive where visitors can conduct research on a variety of topics ranging from genealogy to Gettysburg, Adams County, and Civil War history.

On Dec. 16, the Historical Society hosted a digital campaign event to announce over $2.7 million in gifts and pledges made to date. Featuring filmed endorsements from documentarian Ken Burns, actor Stephen Lang, and historical novelist Jeff Shaara, the launch included a check presentation from Adams County’s Commissioners for an additional [amount to be announced on 12/16] in support of the project.

According to Burns, whose acclaimed film on the Civil War featured materials from the society’s collection, “the history of Gettysburg and Adams County is not just local historyit’s a microcosm of United States history.”

Shaara, author of Gods and Generals, a prequel to his father Michael’s Pulitzer-winning Killer Angels, added to Burns’ sentiment: “If we all do our part and protect our cherished past, the incredible stories of Gettysburg and Adams County will continue to inspire future generations of Americans just like they inspired my father, and just like they inspired me.”

Construction of the Historical Society’s new home will begin next year.

“Not only will we save this incredible collection, we are creating a home for this community’s remarkable story,” said Dalton. “From prehistoric times to the days of Eisenhower and beyond, this will be an experience unlike any other.”

To learn more about supporting the project, please visit www.achs-pa.org/campaign,

or email info@achs-pa.org. Donations can also be mailed to the Adams County Historical Society at P.O. Box 4325, Gettysburg PA 17325. Naming and sponsorship opportunities are available for a limited time.

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Since 1888, the Adams County Historical Society (Gettysburg, Pa.) has preserved over three centuries of remarkable local history. With millions of historic items in its care, ACHS inspires people of all ages to discover the fascinating and largely untold story of one of America’s most famous communities. Learn more at www.achs-pa.org

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1 Response to Saving History Saturday (on Wednesday Evening): Adams County Historical Society to Build New Exhibit and Education Center

  1. Pingback: An Update on the Adams County Historical Society’s New Exhibit Gallery, Archives, and Education Center | Emerging Civil War

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