New England Civil War Museum
The New England Civil War Museum was originally created by local Civil War veterans in 1896. It was not until March 1994 that it was formally established as a museum and opened to the public. It is located within the Memorial Building, inside a former Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall in Rockville, Connecticut. Thomas F. Burpee Post #71 of the Grand Army of the Republic held their monthly meetings in the Grand Hall from 1890 until 1929. Alden Skinner Camp #45 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, their direct heir have held their monthly meeting here from 1890 until the present, making it the oldest, continuously used GAR Hall in the entire country.
After the Post disbanded in the mid-1930s, its collection of relics, prints, paintings, lithographs, photos, and papers was turned over to Alden Skinner Camp #45, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War which used the original GAR collection to begin a museum. Since then the Camp has collected hundreds of new items related to both Connecticut Civil War soldiers and the GAR in Connecticut.
Holdings and history
Most of the museum's original collection was donated by the Civil War veterans of Burpee Post. The museum's collection today holds several hundred items from the Civil War period. Most notable are the Hirst brothers' collection (14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry), the Thomas F. Burpee collection (Colonel, 21st Connecticut Volunteer Infantry), Kilbourne Newell collection (14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry) and the Charles Weston collection (musician, 5th & 7th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry).
The museum also contains the O'Connell-Chapman Library, which has over 1000 volumes of Civil War literature, in addition to original copies of the 128 volumes of The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. This was compiled by the US War Department and originally published from 1880-1901. The Library also owns the original Civil War map books that accompanies the Office Records and several photographs of local Civil War veterans.
The building has the Grand Hall, an outer room, and a kitchen. The museum and library, along with the hall and its rooms, are the property of the Alden Skinner Camp #45 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Fifteen years ago, the Museum acquired part of its original property from the town of Vernon. Once owned by the GAR, the property was annexed by the town and used as a jail cell. The room now houses the Ross S. Dent Reading Room.
The Memorial Hall is also used for meetings by the Connecticut Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).
Notable events held in the GAR Hall
- August 9, 1892: Reunion of the 5th Connecticut Volunteers
- September 16, 1893: Reunion of the 14th Connecticut Volunteers
- August 18, 1896: Reunion of the 25th Connecticut Volunteers
- September 17, 1909: Reunion of the 14th Connecticut Volunteers
- September 20, 1920: Reunion of the 11th Connecticut Volunteers
- "Eleventh Conn. in Rockville". Rockville Journal. September 23, 1920.
- Grand Army of the Republic Hall (disambiguation), listing of halls in numerous places
- National Civil War Museum
- "New England Civil War Museum", Official Website
- The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Making of America, Cornell University Digital Collection