Friday, February 27, 2009

The Rosensteel Museum (1921 - 2009)

My friends at Military History Online and Gettysburg Daily recently informed me that the old Rosensteel Gettysburg Museum and former Visitor Center is in its first stages of demolition. Fences are being set up around it and utility fixtures are being removed. This building will most definitely be gone by late spring.

While I am highly pleased with the new visitor center, some are saddened by the removal of this Gettysburg fixture which enlightened millions of visitors in its eighty-eight year history. However, this area will be restored to its 1863 appearance, which is the greater good.

Now, let us look back on the Rosensteel Museum and reflect on its important place in Gettysburg History. If you have any pictures of the museum, please send them to me and I will be happy to post them for you. Please click on any of the photo to enlarge them. (These photos are courtesy of my little bro, Mark. Thanks buddy!)

This view was taken on Remembrance Day 2007 - the last hurrah for the former Rosensteel Museum.

Seen here is the main lobby with its famous gum-stained carpet. The desks at right were where visitors could learn about tours, tickets for Eisenhower's Farm, and the most frequently asked question: "Where are the restrooms?"

Upon entering the museum from the lobby, visitors would look down to see a dozen or so cannon tubes from the Civil War. Most of these artillery pieces are now on display in a semi-circle encompassing the entrance to the newly restored cyclorama painting.

Directly underneath the visitors would be this Confederate Howitzer which was actually used in the battle. I believe this piece is now in one of the galleries at the new museum, but the caisson behind it is not.

Here are the plaques dedicated to the Rosensteel Family - the founders of the original museum before the Park Service bought it in the 1970s. These plaques were not originally to be in the new museum, but public demand for them to be so made the Park Service change its mind. They look very nice in their new location.

Even President Ike and Monty visited the map. Eisenhower often used the battlefield and museum to entertain his numerous important guests, also including Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, as well as the granchildren.

And here is my final book signing at the visitor center...good times.

Farewell you trusty old museum...


  1. I liked the old musuem and miss it. The new Visitor Center is bland with no personality.

    I will however dance a jig when the old cyclorama center is destroyed or moved elsewhere.

  2. I am one of the many grand daughter's of Joseph Rosensteel. It is a shame new generations will not be able to experience the history behind the old Visitor Center. I hope people will continue to educate the Gettysburg visitors of the important impact the Rosensteel Collection has made in Civil War History.

  3. Thanks for the retrospective about the Rosensteel Museum.