National Museum of Civil War Medicine

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

The Civil War played a great part in downtown Frederick’s history. One building’s entire history is due to the Civil War. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine dedicates itself to educate the public on healthcare during the Civil War and how procedures were carried out on soldiers. As most know medical procedures were nothing like those of today and a lot of soldiers went through excruciating pain. Some still remember their pain to this day.

The building at 48 East Patrick Street was built in the 1830s. It was a furniture business until the battle of Antietam. After the battle they used the building as funeral home The building was close enough to the train so the bodies of deceased soldiers were easily shipped to the building for embalming and then shipped out for burial. The embalmer, Dr. Richard Burr, was also a carpenter who would build coffins for the dead as well. Dr. Burr was a questionable doctor with his business methods, such as embalming in front of the windows so the public could see his process, and selling “funeral packages” only to take back headstones to sell to another person. It is believed he is the reason medical and funeral practices changed for the better after the Civil War.

The building became the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in 1990. Since its opening there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity. All are believed to be Civil War era ghosts. People in the museum often hear heavy boots walking on hardwood floors, and screaming. There were also reports of unexplained shadows, and moved objects. A young man has been seen in civil war clothes looking at the displays. A woman claimed to have seen a bearded face staring out of the upstairs window after the museum was closed. One incident was a person who was looking at a picture of John Failing and said John was ugly. The person then felt a sharp punch in his shoulder with no one around him. John would transport the injured during the civil war but did not die during the war so whether or not it was him is debatable. Another strange incident is when the director heard children and footsteps after building was closed. One worker claims a ladder was knocked out from under them when they were changing a light.

The museum is opened 7 days a week for visitors. There is also a ghost tour in downtown Frederick that shares the scary stories and encounters of the museum.


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