As the weather warms and summer approaches, Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center (SRMEC) returns to seasonal programming, including the renewal of our popular annual evening walking tour series, “Sunset at the Seminary.”
Held at 6:30 pm on the final Friday of May, June, July and August, each of these hour-long guided experiences examines a specific aspect of Seminary Ridge before, during and after the Battle of Gettysburg, with a special focus on the people who lived and fought on the Lutheran Seminary campus in 1863. The first tour will be held on May 27, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. That evening, we will cover “The Final Attack: July 1, 1863.”
Though this tour is a staple of our series each year, this time, thanks to items now on display after our recent artifact rotation, we have a new lens through which to view a familiar, oft-told subject.
Every few years, museums engage in the critical duty of rotating artifacts, a process that ensures historic objects are removed from display and “rested” so they can be around for decades to come. In the fall of 2021, SRMEC returned nearly two dozen artifacts that had previously been displayed in our permanent exhibit, “Voices of Duty and Devotion,” and over the winter of 2021 to 2022, staff selected new objects to replace those that had been removed . Many of those objects new to SRMEC this spring allow us to investigate and interpret fresh stories, including those we will tell on May 27.
In following the story of Gettysburg’s first day, “The Final Attack” traces the movements of the United States and Confederate armies throughout July 1, 1863, which led to a costly, close-quarters contest at a hastily constructed rail barricade along Seminary Ridge late that afternoon.
Many of the artifacts now on loan from the likes of Gettysburg National Military Park and United Lutheran Seminary’s Wentz Library provide physical evidence of that day’s fighting, including military accoutrements that locals picked up from the field soon after the battle, damaged materials from nearby homes and buildings, and individual soldiers’ belongings. A handful of pieces from the collection belonging to longtime SRMEC supporters Faye and Ed Max can be tied directly to soldiers who fought on Seminary Ridge and at the Seminary barricade, including uniform pieces, poignant firsthand accounts and a fragment of a US flag carried into battle by the 142nd Pennsylvania.
We hope you will join us on May 27 to walk in these troops’ footsteps and will participate in subsequent tours throughout the summer of 2022. In future months, we will cover “Art and Photography on Seminary Ridge,” “The Seminary in the Battle , ”And a new tour,“ Architecture on Seminary Ridge. ” Stay tuned, as well, for forthcoming information on our Battle of Gettysburg 159th anniversary programming.
Codie Eash is the director of education and museum operations at Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center. Located at 111 Seminary Ridge, the museum is open Thursday through Monday, 9 am to 5 pm Guided cupola tours are available. Visit our website www.seminaryridgemuseum.org for more information.