Then & Now
Preservation for Future Generations
The first Civil War veterans’ association in the nation, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), was instituted on April 20, 1865, by Philadelphia officers who had served in the guard of President Lincoln’s funeral procession. In 1888, MOLLUS opened the first nationally chartered Civil War museum in its headquarters at 1805 Pine St. in Philadelphia. Along with guns, uniforms and photographs, it featured the head of “Old Baldy,” the 14-time wounded horse of Gettysburg’s commanding Union General George Gordon Meade.
Many of the collections at Soldiers and Sailors Museum in Pittsburgh and The State Museum of Pennsylvania were also donated directly by Civil War veterans who recognized the importance of preserving the memory of the war for future generations.
In 1874, the Pennsylvania Assembly commissioned artist Peter Rothermel to depict Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg in a large-scale painting (16 feet by 32 feet), which remains on permanent view at The State Museum in Harrisburg. And, the 1883 cyclorama painting of Gettysburg (27 feet by 359 feet) by Paul Philippoteaux has been restored to its original size and is now on display at the new visitor center in Gettysburg. More recently, the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was established to provide a comprehensive history of the Civil War.
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