Monday, September 28, 2009

Civil War Museum Staying in Philly

After a rough few months for the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia, the museum has announced that it is still working to stay in Philadelphia.

Established in 1888, the museum shut down in 2008 in preparation for moving from its long-time home at 1805 Pine Street to the former First Bank of the United States building at 3rd and Chestnut Streets.

But then the economy tanked.

The state withdrew its $10 million pledge to support the move, leaving the museum without sufficient funding to keep its new lease with the National Park Service, which owns the First Bank building.

The Civil War Museum then warned in late July that it had only weeks to find an alternate location before it would start looking outside the city. Of course, the museum had tried to leave the city before (in 2001), and public outcry changed its plans.

Now, the museum has announced that it has a bit more time for the search because it is temporarily splitting up its 3,000-item collection at the Gettysburg National Park Visitors Center, the National Constitution Center, and the African American Museum of Philadelphia. The Civil War Museum hopes to open in a new Philadelphia location by 2014 at the latest.

Meanwhile, 3rd and Chestnut will still be getting a new museum -- right across the street from the First Bank building.

Also in July, the Park Service announced a land-swap deal that will put the private American Revolution Center (ARC) and its planned Revolutionary War museum in the former visitor center at Independence National Historical Park.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who wondered at the oddly perfect timing of this war museum switcheroo, but thankfully, it didn't sink the Civil War Museum.



The former NPS visitor center (left) and the First Bank building (right). Photo: Google Maps.

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