Civil War Museum of Philadelphia

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Civil War Museum of Philadelphia
Established 1888

The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia (formerly the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia and previously the Civil War Library and Museum) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, claims to be the oldest chartered American Civil War institution in the United States. The museum was founded in 1888 by veteran officers of the Union Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

On August 7, 2007, the museum announced that it would relocate from 1805 Pine Street near Rittenhouse Square to the former First Bank of the United States building, near Independence Hall. Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street presented the museum with a check for $1.2 million to assist in its relocation.[1] On August 2, 2008, the Pine Street location permanently closed and the museum planned to reopen in its new location in 2011.[2][3]

In 2009, Governor Ed Rendell canceled the state's portion of the funding needed to relocate the museum, prompting the National Park Service to withdraw its offer to use the First Bank building.[4]

The museum now plans to reopen in a new, as yet unspecified location in 2014. While closed, its collection is being stored at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, where an exhibition of material from the collection is planned for 2013. Artifacts are also on exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and the African American Museum in Philadelphia.[5]


The museum's collection includes the mounted head of "Old Baldy", the horse that was ridden by Union Major General George G. Meade during most of the Civil War. Old Baldy's head was mounted in 1882 and restored in 1991.

In addition to a large portrait and artifacts associated with General Meade, the museum's has personal items from other Union generals including Ulysses S. Grant, John F. Reynolds, and George B. McClellan.

The collection also includes a large number of military escutcheons, which were made in the United States from the end of the Civil War until about 1907. They resemble a coat of arms and depict the military record of a veteran. Usually commissioned by the veteran or his family to memorialize his service, they were produced by an artist using chromolithography.

The museum has items pertaining to Abraham Lincoln, including a cast of his hands, a lock of hair, and a death mask.


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Coordinates: 39°56′48″N 75°10′18″W / 39.946537°N 75.171799°W / 39.946537; -75.171799