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Museum Curator Stunt Leaves Him Out in the Cold

National Civil War Museum Curator Braves the Elements to Educate on Struggles Faced by Civil War Soldier

Harrisburg, PA (Jan. 5, 2010) – The National Civil War Museum, located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania today announced a unique fundraiser and educational initiative that promises to leave their Curator of Collections, Brett Kelley, out in the cold for two weeks.

Kelley will live the life of a Civil War soldier on the picket line 24 hours a day for a two-week period in February, utilizing only Civil War era reproduction uniforms, equipment and food rations. Kelley, who is using his vacation leave to do this, will be residing in a Civil War tent on the Museum grounds from Saturday, February 6 until Saturday, February 20, 2010 in an effort to raise funds for The National Civil War Museum’s education department.

"This is a daring move that demonstrates Mr. Kelley's commitment to raising the awareness of this national museum dedicated to the story of the Civil War from both the Northern and Southern perspectives," said Mary Smith, President of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. "Student groups visiting during this time will most certainly gain a new appreciation for the elements the soldiers endured and the sacrifices they made for this country."

Kelley will not be taking on the persona of a Civil War soldier, but will simply be a 21st century museum curator living as a Union private on the picket line would have, as accurately as possible.  Although he will be available to speak to visitors during specific times, his schedule will also include time walking his post, constructing a rail fence and several 10-mile marches to various historical destinations throughout the area.

During the Civil War, soldiers who stood picket duty were posted on line in advance of their regiment while it was in camp.  Each soldier was responsible for a section of the line, alerting the regiment in case of enemy attack.  Because the safety of the regiment was at stake, the penalty for sleeping on post was very severe, including imprisonment, or even death.

Donations are being accepted to sponsor Kelley for a day or the entire two-week period, or in any amount.  Funds raised will go directly to the NCWM education department to be utilized for projects such as the development of a distance learning system and a summer speaking program, as well as acquiring reproduction equipment for educational presentations for the public and school groups.  To make a donation towards this project or to view a schedule of Kelley’s activities, please visit www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org. For more information on the museum or this project, please contact Lynn Smolizer at 717.260.1861 x. 1108 or lsmolizer@nationalcivilwarmuseum.org.

Civil war enthusiasts and student groups coming to the area will also find other Civil War attractions such as PA's Civil War Trails and activities including a Passport to History program to continue the story of this region's significant role in the war.  For more information on attractions, lodging and group tour assistance for the region, contact the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau at 717-231-7788 or email Info@HersheyHarrisburg.org.

Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110