Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Boonsborough Museum of History: a Civil War Treasure-Trove


In the place which I call home, Boonsboro Maryland, there is a unique and remarkable  cultural institution known as the Boonsborough Museum of History.  Yes the spelling is different, and that difference sets the tone ... 

not to mention the cannons on the front porch

Immediately upon entering one gets the feeling that this building is chock-full of history.

Wonder what you might see?

Don't worry, its all spelled out for you:

Step past this sign to the main Civil War gallery;  a large percentage of the materials are related to the battles of Antietam or South Mountain.

The proprietor, Doug Bast, has been an avid collector since he was nine. 

Doug (center) personally guides visitors through his remarkable collection.

 Things seem to have a way of gravitating toward Doug.
From the detritus of battle...

to a breath-taking collection of bullets, including...

a significant collection of those that collided and fused together in mid-air; a testimonial to the ferocity of Civil War combat.

 Doug also has an impressive collection of artillery projectiles...

and artillery-related surprises, such as this ammunition crate in superb, and complete-with-the-lid condition!

This relic pyramid is covered with items found on the Antietam Battlefield in the years before the establishment of the National Park.

The holdings also boast numerous volumes of diaries kept by Civil War luminary,  and local boy, Henry Kyd Douglas, who served as a staff member to Stonewall Jackson.

"War logs" always fascinate me, and Doug has two particularly nice ones including this with the 3" Hotchkiss embedded deep within the wood...

And this chunk of shell (or case perhaps) lodged in another large portion of a tree.

Oddities include many carved minie balls and a pretty substantial piece of "hardtack".

Personal items fill cases, from equipment...

to soldier diversions.

Another real rarity of the collection is this intact Civil War landmine, the so-called "infernal machines" of the era.

 Embedded in a human bone is a much smaller though no less "infernal" case-shot ball.

Cannons are a recurring theme throughout the Museum, including this bedstead salvaged from a Sharpsburg home following the battle, holed by a cannon projectile.  "Wake up call" indeed!

My delighted nephew surveys the contents of Doug's aptly-named "cannon room", though this area is usually not a part of the tour.

If you are travelling through Boonsboro on a Sunday (May - September, noon to 5:00) be sure to stop by for a guided tour.  The place is really easy to spot...

Its the one with all the artillery on the front porch.

Having fun on my day off, smack-dab in the middle of Boonsboro,

Ranger Mannie



Audrey Scanlan-Teller said...

A day well spent!

Audrey Scanlan-Teller said...

I see your day off was a day well spent.

Anonymous said...

This is an offbeat and totally WONDERFUL place! You won't be sorry if you go. Doug is a knowledgeable and welcoming host.