Looks like it's going to happen...
Looks like it's going to happen...
All well and good for battlefield preservation but as historians you shouldn't scoff at it's importance as an historical architectural artifact... There is always a second side..
Interesting to see that the electric map was sold to a local developer.
I'd read the open bid description at the time it was offered and figured we'd see that map again.
I'm really sad to see it go. When that building was new, it was beautiful. It displayed the painting in a dramatic way, and preserved it for fifty years. I believe the reason they located it right in Zeigler's Grove is that it was only a matter of yards away from where Phillippauteaux (sp?) had the scafford where he did his study, took photos for reference, etc. So you were viewing the cyclorama from pretty much the same spot that the painter painted it. They used to give a guided tour that went out the upper exit in the gallery, and walked along the observation deck after viewing the painting. It made a big impression on me when I was a lad in the single digits. It was very sad to see the state of disrepair that the building was allowed to deteriorate to in the years since it was vacated. The Visitor's Center was a piece of my childhood that, alas, is now gone.
I have been to Gettysburg several times and each time I go there I see something new. I recently went back to Gettysburg and noticed the transformation that the old location of the museum has went through. It definately looks really different having the buildings removed from the area. The new museum is open and easy to walk through compared to the tight space of the old. I cant wait to go back. -TJM 9th Ky, CSA
The new museum is awesome! I really enjoyed it. The galleries are a little busy - a bit like walking around on the inside of a website - but did a much better job of setting te war and battle in context than anything that was done previously. Since many people see Gettysburg as the "Visitor's Center for the Civil War" I think that's a good thing. I didn't care for the film preceeding the cyclorama presentation because I thought it was reaching to make connections that were a little out of context and tenuous. the cyclorama is absolutely awe-inspiring. I would never get tired of seeing that!
I don't expect to miss the Cyclorama building, as I could never understand why it was considered attractive. I do miss the old visitor's center as I used to stop there periodically to educate my eye on the materials in the displays. I guess that all the items that they used to display in the old visitor's center is in storage somewhere; I very much miss the opportunity to look at it.
Most of the items are on display in the new visitors center.
The old visitor's center (the cyclorama center) was designed as a state of the art archetectural statement in the late 1950s. When it was new, it was really a thing of beauty. The bright white exterior walls, flat roof, square part of the building contrasting with the round cyclorama theater were a bold statement. Museums looked like small town libraries back then. A fresh look bridged the gap between the past and the present, as if saying "the Civil War still matters." (Things like putting it on top of a battlefield landmark just didn't occur to folks back then. See my first post for why it was located there.) The interior of the building gleamed with polished granite. It was built to handle big crowds, and was prety successful at it. Unfortunately, like most ultra-modern buildings of its time, it didn't age well. I think the roof leaked for most of the last 40 years. That look of modernity became highly dated and rather than speaking of an optimistic, modern future, just said "tired old government building." It was worn out, obsolete, and in the wrong place; but it's still a shame to see it gone. Plus it preserved a great work of art for 40+ years, facilitating millions of viewings. The cyclorama would have been rat dung if it had remained in it's round barn. Now what I really think is funny, is that when they demolished the old electric map building (the visitor's center by the big parking lot) they did such a thorough job that it's wiped clean from the face of the earth. No trace. If you didn't know there'd been a building there, you wouldn't guess. Yet they left the brown informational sign at the site proclaiming "This building has been permanently closed." I guess so! Closed in Vogon fashion!
At the old visitors' center parking was next to the building and it was easy to get from the parking lot to the entrance. At the new visitor center, by the time I reached the door after struggling to transverse strips of swamp, I was done in.
I and other locals whom I have talked to enjoyed the old visitor center. I *really* don't like the new one.