November 24, 2010
For Immediate Release:
National Museum of Civil War Medicine to open New Museum in Downtown DC
On Thursday, November 4, Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office located at 437 7th Street, Washington, DC, was opened to the public for an event hosted by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine (NMCWM), in coordination with Destination DC and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
The third floor where Clara Barton had her office and living quarters has been essentially untouched since the time the doors were closed in 1875 until re-discovered 1997. Since then, GSA has been in search of a museum partner to bring life to the story hidden within the walls of the Missing Soldiers Office. Well over 200 people were treated to a viewing of these untouched rooms of the Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers office– an exciting preview of the Museum that is to come.
Visitors who entered the rooms where Clara had her office spoke of a feeling inside that was indescribable – almost sacral. As individuals found their way to the third floor, they spoke in hushed whispers and were in obvious awe of the space, what had taken place there and the historical significance therein. Many could be heard to whisper: “if these walls could talk…” The original wallpaper, many artifacts and original banister are all intact, leaving visitors with the sense that they have walked into a time capsule.
The importance of this building to downtown Washington, DC, and the history of the area is immeasurable. “This is the place where the Red Cross in many ways was born because this is where she first saw the need. You’re literally touring the place where Clara Barton the woman was made into Clara Barton the legend we now know as the founder of the Red Cross.” George Wunderlich, Executive Director, NMCWM
In order to preserve and present this very special place in our American History, the NMCWM has signed a letter of intent with the GSA which will lead to the opening of the newest museum under the umbrella of the NMCWM: the Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office. It will be open to the public in 2011-2012.
Washington Post journalist Michael Ruane published an article on the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers’ Office – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/03/AR2010110307729.html in the November 4, 2010 edition of the Post.