The National Museum of the United States has reached another significant milestone with the installation of the first micro artifacts into their designated exhibit cases. This phase of the project signals that previous “dirty work” inside the National Army Museum has progressed enough that the conditions are right to begin the final phases of the exhibit work and begin placing the smaller historical artifacts.
The Museum’s curators are working closely with other specialists who are contributing to a very unique team. According to Paul Morando, the Museum’s Exhibits Chief, more than 1,300 micro artifacts will be installed over several months, and preparation for this stage of work has taken place over several years. Each artifact was assessed and conserved according to its individual needs. Subsequently, a custom mount was crafted for each artifact, specifically designed based on the artifacts measurements and conservation reports to provide the utmost protection and to display the artifact in its best light.
Larger, macro artifacts, were first into the Museum, some of which were placed by cranes in August 2017 before the exterior walls of the Museum were constructed. The smaller artifacts are finding their place in exhibit cases and among graphics and text. “We are carefully examining the placement of graphics, photos, and labels while maintaining the integrity of the artifact and considering the aesthetics for the visitor’s experience,” said Morando.
One of the first micro artifacts to be installed was First Lieutenant (later Captain) Edward N. Whittier’s uniform that he wore during the Battle of Gettysburg. Whittier was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Fisher’s Hill. This Museum is sharing more than 240 years of Army history through Soldiers and their stories. While Whittier’s uniform is an interesting artifact in its own right, when placed with the accompanying exhibit elements, the uniform helps to craft a story that connects the visitor with a Soldier and that moment in time. “We’re telling the Army’s story through Soldier stories,” said Morando. “From the moment the visitor enters the Museum through the last exhibit, a personal perspective is intertwined in every historic story.”
As the Museum prepares to open, Morando says it’s exciting to see the evolution of the Museum galleries. “Every day, more artifacts are in their cases, and it’s gratifying to see a building transform into a Museum – and a place where the Army’s history will reside.”