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Grand Army of the Republic Museum February Program

Timed perfectly for Black History month, the GAR museum will offer a program by Ed McLaughlin – the U.S. Colored Troops stories from the Philadelphia National Cemetery on Sunday February 7th at 1 PM.  The doors open at noon to give you time to browse some of the displays.

We were there in January for the concert of the 28th Pennsylvania Regimental Brass Band conducted by Russell D. Hoffmann.  Mr. Hoffmann is the founding music director and conductor of the Newtown Chamber Orchestra.  It is a unique experience to hear the music of that era as the troops would have heard it during the war.

We also did periscope broadcast of the first half of the concert and had quite a few viewers stop in to take a look.  The musical selections are available on our YouTube channel or if you have time click on them below.  They run about 20 minutes in total.   This is only the first half of the concert.

Selections include: Hail Columbia, Concordia March, Last Rose of Summer, O Hills O Vales of Pleasure, General Birney’s Quick Step, Esmeralda/Sultan Polka, Santa Anna’s Retreat and Light of Other Days.

Part 1


Part 2


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Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library

Hugh Boyle

I visited the GAR Civil War Museum and Library on Sunday December 4th during their monthly public program.  I didn’t have much time to spend and so I did not get my fill of history, music, pictures, exhibits and stories from Hugh Boyle and Tom O’Toole.  I hope to do better next time.

There are lots of reasons to go to the GAR.  If you have an interest in the Civil War as we enter the 150 anniversary years of the conflict, this is a place to see some historic artifacts for yourself.  The GAR was the original Civil War veterans organization.

Google Old Baldy and General Meade and you will find a ton of hits.  Then troop on down to the GAR Museum and see what they have.  You will find Old Baldy himself.

Old Baldy

If you’ve been to Washington DC and toured and Ford’s Theater, you know about the house across the street (Peterson boarding house) where President Lincoln died.  On display at the GAR Museum is a piece of the pillow case where Lincoln lay which still has his blood still on it.  There is a great display of Lincoln material on hand.

Did you ever hear about Dr. Mary Edwards and her experience in the Civil War. You can see her tool kit right there on Griscom Street.  You got the Congressional Medal of Honor for her service.

The Ruan House itself is a historic gem.  It was built in 1796 and is on the National Register of Historic Sites.  It is in amazing condition and a treat to see.

28th Pennsylvania RegimentalBrass Band in Concert

An unexpected highlight of my brief visit was the performance by the 28th Pennsylvania Regimental Brass Band.  They were doing music of the Civil War era and it was interesting to hear songs that the troops would have heard back in that time.    The venue at the museum is cozy and intimate with the musicians and audience in close proximity.  It is more like having a concert in your own living room.  That is the best way to enjoy this music and the acoustics were really great.

Put this place on your schedule.  It should not be missed.  Bring the kids.  They have parking in back.