tv American Artifacts U.S. Army Heritage Education Center Collections CSPAN March 9, 2019 10:00am-10:31am EST
of virginia professor and author william hitchcock on the age of eisenhower. >> dwight eisenhower was the most respected man, the most admired man of that period. he served the country as president and his average approval rating while president with was 65 years average. the next president who comes closest to that was bill clnten at 55% and after that ronald reagan 53. >> watch american history tv his weekend on c-span 3. >> up next, on american artifacts we go behind the scenes at the u.s. army in itage and education center carlisle, pennsylvania to see a section of world war i objects in their storage facility. we will see how they prepare,
conserve and store a selection of fragile artifacts. >> i am the curator at the education center. the center is the armies unofficial depository for history. we collect artifacts and two-dimensional materials like letters, diaries, photographs, audio and visual materials and we are the largest collection -- library collection as well. what we try to do here is focused on the army's history through individual soldier's stories that we collect. where we are right now, we are
at the storage facility for the museum, so we house all of the three-dimensional materials that relate as part of our collection. we have approximately 75,000 artifacts in the collection, in this personal collection. that can run from the smallest piece of insignia to a tank. it is quite a variety of materials that we have here. we pull out a few world war i materials. all of them are identified to a soldier. that has been our ission here. the very first piece, we have - it is known as a jerkin. once americans got over to
france, we also took a liking to them. it is a vest that has leather on the outside. on the nside is blanket material. that is the lining. a pretty simple piece of the uniform. this one was worn by a soldier by the name of noel. they were using french maid takes. -- tanks. what the dragons were being used for, they proved -- jerkins were being used for, they provided extra warmth to the body but allowed extra movement for the arms. the helmet is actually a german helmet. it was picked up by a
soldier by the name of alfred swanson. he was a medic attached to the 18th infantry, part of the first division. once he got over there, when he was an action, he picked up this helmet and he had a mural painted on the front depicting medics. he kept it as a souvenir until it was donated here. it is a wonderful piece for a number of reasons because the german helmet is in good condition, but the painting really puts his service in context. the second helmet we have was a standard helmet that has had an officer's badge affixed to it. this helmet was
born over there by then chief f staff tasker bliss. he was a major general and then he became a four-star general. he was sent over there by woodrow wilson. he was a personal representative on the personal allied supreme war council. he went over in 1918 to conduct reviews of the american army, as well as being a representative in the u.s. government on the supreme war council. classic souvenir that soldiers would fight over is a piece of fabric from a german airplane that was shot down. they were very colorful and rnate. this is a great example
of the types of things that soldiers on the ground with love to pick up and save as souvenirs. many relate to how the german plane came down and anded when it was shot down, or it broke down -- however it came down. the plane itself would be stripped, almost entirely by the soldiers on the ground, looking for souvenirs. this is a perfect example. this came from a german albatross airplane. what we brought out is identified to a first lieutenant. he was with 131st infantry. his unit -- the 131st were assigned and attached to the british fourth army. the
very first action, unfortunately. he was wounded by either a bullet to the back f his head and year or a piece of artillery shrapnel that njured him. he survived, but this particular coat, you can ee evidence of his wounding on the sleeves. and on a portion of -- the upper portion of his coat, being hit in the back of his head and his left year. he was evacuated from the front and was discharged about four months before the rest of the unit. he made it home. normally, these types of garments would not be washed. they would have been dry cleaned. he very well could
have kept it as it was, as a souvenir, as a reminder of his ime during that offensive. once it comes in to our collection here, we generally do not wash materials. we try to preserve them as they are when they come in. in some cases, if a object is in need of conversation -- conservation, that is a conversation that we have as a staff, to best preserve an item. in this case, the blood is not degrading the government, so this is a wonderful example, a reminder f war. this is a really good example of how some of our storage techniques, in
particular world war i. they are in cabinets, so they are out of the light. generally, they are on padded hangers, which takes the pressure off the shoulder seams. if we were to have any garments -- we do have governments that are not stable enough to be on padded hangers -- they would be boxed lat. that way we do not have to worry about it. a couple here. a variety of world war i, more jerkins and coats. this is a coat that needs to be stored flat. that is from the world war i timeframe. anything,
generally come earlier than that like the civil war, indian more -- war, any garments prior to that, we usually box it lat. >> can i get another pair of hands? put a pillow down here. thank you very much. i take care of the museum objects to keep them from degrading and help ensure that they will be here for another 50 to 100 years, so we do repairs, we clean them. anything that might
be needed for that object to last as long as possible. i do know that it was used in the ent for heating. i do not know if they use them for cooking, but it is cast-iron. what i am going to do is -- the inside needs to be vacuum cleaned. you can see there is a lot of corrosion in here. i will vacuum clean it, then i will take a scalpel and mechanically remove the corrosion. once the corrosion is removed, the step -- we will remove that and then will put a solution of tannic acid on it. it stops corrosion
and inhibit further corrosion. you put it on and it stays on the surface. when it rehydrated, if the moisture goes up, it will rehydrate and prevent corrosion by creating a barrier at the get through. this will not do this again. it will not be eaten away slowly by corrosion. this will probably take me a couple months. i do have a sword in its scabbard that will probably take me a year or two to complete. it requires a lot of patience. >> as cynthia mentioned, this is a stove for a tent. this particular piece was picked up as a battlefield
souvenir after the battle of fredericksburg in december 1862. it was picked up by william, who was, we believe, a resident of fredericksburg. we were not able to find him in any of the rosters for either army. we are guessing that he was a native of fredericksburg, which was common, especially after any battle. civilians and other soldiers from both sides would be scouring the battlefield for other soldiers, wounded individuals and also for souvenirs as well. it is not uncommon that this was picked up. it was also common to make notations. the stove as for a tent, which was
patented in 1856 by henry sibley. he was an officer and eventually became a confederate officer. he joined the south and as a result, he did not receive any royalties that he ould have gotten for his patent. the tent looked much learned to the shape of the stove. it was conical in shape and about 12 feet high. it had a single pole in the center. the diameter of the base was about 18 feet and it could come -- comfortably house about a ozen soldiers. because the stove was in the center of the tent, the heat emanated and made it very comfortable. >> this, we have five paper
fuses that had gunpowder in them. we had to remove the gunpowder to make them inert. now what i am doing is -- for display purposes, we want it to look like it has gunpowder in it, so i did not know if you can see that. what i have done is taken a small piece of black fabric and wrapped around cotton wool and put that in the end so that it simulate gunpowder without ctually being gunpowder. >> these are all paper timed fuses. it would have came in a rectangular pack. these particular ones are made at
frankfurt arsenal in 1864. that arsenal is in northern philadelphia. cynthia mentioned they would've had black powder inside and little paper tail attached on top. they were intended to be inserted into a hollow artillery shell. the use would be inserted into the show. the fireball from the black powder would actually light the paper reviews and it would lowly burn into diffuse. at a certain time, it would ignite the interior powder in he show, creating an explosion
to maim the enemy troops. it could have been cut, depending on the amount of time. some of them came with preset cuts. these were 10 second fuses. others came in five and 20 seconds. they could cut each one depending on the distance to the enemy. they could turn down the amount of time. >> painting was conserved in the 70's at another facility, but what i am working on is trying to remove all of this dark, black on the flame -- frame. cigar smoke, pipe smoke.
kind of a gentleman's library, o it was there in the late 1800s. my challenge is to get he soot off without removing the paint. i have been testing different solvent. water, acid, acetone. i am testing them where they will not be seen until i can figure out what works. i want to test and inconspicuous -- in inconspicuous places. from the way it is reacting, i think it s a water-based paint. trial and error, that is what it is.
>> i am the curator. my responsibility is to correct, preserve and interpret army art history. this is a marvelous portrait. he had a photograph done. there was no date on this, but most of them were done in the 1880's. the dwight brothers -- there were four of them in the war. he carried the flag across the confederate line. he valued the troops. of course, he paid for it with his ife. i do have a letter that he wrote. it is on the 17th of september, 1862. on the field, he said this. "dear mother, it is a mistake, moist morning. we are engaging the enemy. i write you to send you my love and
ell you that i am very well so far." there is a break in it because they are ordered into combat. he picks up the letter again, "dearest mother, i am wounded to be helpless. i think i die in victory. god defend ur country. i trust in god and love you all to the last. dearest father and brothers, our troops have left the part of the field where i lay. always yours, walter. all is well with those who have aith." >> i am jordan and i am the paper conservator here.
i did the -- i am cynthia counterpart, but i work with paper, archives, the books, photographs and i repair those o make sure that they are safe for exhibit. one of the projects i am working on is flattening panoramic photos. we have a lot of photos that comes with rolled and it is easier to store them when they are rolled. you cannot just flatten it out as it is, unrolling them to undo damage. we put them in this chamber and we leave them in there for about an hour or two, then we unrolled them in the chamber and it helps to relax the paper fibers. you can unroll them without breaking paper fibers or without scratching the emotion on the photograph. we take them
ut and face them out on a flat paper and some weight and they start to relax. this has been under the blotter for about six hours. i will probably put it back in the chamber tomorrow and then t will be physically flat. a photograph that people can view in the archives. we store them in folders, and either large-format drawers or large shelves, so most of what we have is short enough to fit. i know they have one that was four inches long. they might have trouble finding a place to put that one, but the archives is usually put good about finding a place to put things. one of the other projects i am
working on over here is the fuse to the boxes that cynthia is filling. we had to cut open the box to get the fuses out. you can see on the side that this is where the fuses came from. what we want to do is reseal this container up so that it looks like what it did when we got it. i will take some starch paste that i make up in the lab and paint it on their. some pun polyester and make a sandwich and put it in their. then we will fold it together while the paste dries. the taste that we use is reversible with water. everything that we do, we want to make sure it is
reversible. he interesting piece i have in ere now is a confederate diary. the gentleman was captured in the battle of cumberland gap and was in prison for two years. this is the diary that he had with him while he was captured. it is falling apart here. the cover comes right off. but we have to consider is we do not want any more damage to happened to this artifact, but we want people to be able to look at it and use it as a reference for study. it is a balancing act that we had to do because we do not want to do anything that is not reversible. we want to make sure that people still have access to this document. what i am going to do is pull all the strings out because it is
barely holding together as it s. i will take each page and i will store them over here. encapsulated with page numbers at the bottom so that they can flip through it as if it were a diary, but each page is preserved and will not be damaged by handling. they can still follow through with the story. this is the kind of stuff that we would do if there are any tears on the pages, i will mend those before i encapsulate them so that you get a more thorough view of the page. a lot of times, the archives will digitize materials and make that copy available. they want the original available to certain researchers. especially with handwriting and so forth,
you might not be able to tell what something is, so you have to go back to the original. we will keep it for that level of research, but a lot of times, a scan or a printout will be good enough for some researchers. we will usually make an original surrogate. >> we are happy to make these artifacts and materials vailable to any researchers, hether they want to take photographs and look at it or if they are a devoted researcher, looking to take the most minute measurements and photographs possible. we are here to help and make these materials available. >> you can learn more about the collections, library and museum by visiting army war college.edu.
you can watch this and all other american artifact rograms on c-span.org/history. >> today on the civil war, johngoersing talks about his book the monitor boys. the first iron clad. he chronicles the ship's famous battle against the css virginia. the first ever clash of iron clads in 1862. ere's a preview. >> they get hit by terrible storm, 30 foot seas, 50 snoth winds, rain squalls, snow squalls, sleet squalls. it is terrible conditions. nally, john kind bank head
has to raise the red lantern of tiss tress and immediately organized two ships to come over to the monitor, two long boats, and rescue the crew. the big problem is that rhode island can't just come alongside the monitor. the fear was a wave could pick it up and drop it down on the monitor and the monitor would sink. or the monitor could be thrown into the side of the rhode island so she would sink. there's 6 p 3 men on board the monitor. basically this is a marrowing night. the wind is screaming. one u crew meb in the turret gets so upset with with the screaming of the ship's cast that he grabs the cat, throws her in the barrel and puts a tampion afterwards but he could still hear the screaming of the
cat. oh, my god. >> learn more about the sunshine s monitor's 1862 battle against the css virginia today at 6:00 p.m. eastern. you're watching american history tv where every weekend announcer: sunday night on q&a, amy greenberg, penn state history professor, discusses the the worldes first: of first lady sarah polk." she wrote letters to a supreme court justice and members of congress that were completely politics, 100% about and they were not noticeably different from a letter that a man would write. and they wrote back to her
in the same vein. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span q&a. american history tv, smith college africana professor paula giddings talks about civil rights and ida b. wells. wells' careerthe in the 1800s, the lynching of her friend and her activism in brooklyn and chicago. miss giddings is the author of "ida: a sword among lions: ida b. wells and the campaign against lynching." the brooklyn historical society hosted this 75-minute event.