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Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office
437 7th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004
When Alexander Gardner's stunning photographs of the Antietam battlefield were first publicly displayed in 1862, they changed how Americans saw war forever. For a limited time, you can relive that sobering exhibition at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office.
On March 1, 2018, the acclaimed “Dead of Antietam” exhibition will return to the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office in Washington, DC. The exhibit recreates and explores the original photographs taken in the days after the bloodiest day in American history, the Battle of Antietam, on September 17, 1862. When the photographs were first publicly displayed by Mathew Brady in New York in 1862, they shocked a nation and showed the true nature of warfare – the anonymous dead laying row upon row on an American landscape.
“Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war,” wrote the New York Times after the original exhibition began in October 1862. “If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it.”
Captured by Washington photographer Alexander Gardner, the images changed the perception of war in the United States and continue to reverberate in our own era as we grapple with continuing conflict across the globe. Now you, too, can experience the images that once captivated and horrified a nation and grapple with the place of warfare in our country in 2018.
Visiting the exhibition is included with admission to the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum and is free for Museum members. The exhibition will be on display at the Missing Soldiers Office from March 1, 2018 until May 19, 2018 and will be available during normal operating hours (11:00am – 6:00pm, Thurs-Sat) and by appointment. Contact Reservations Coordinator Katie Reichard for more information about appointments and group visits: [email protected]
The exhibit restages the original photographic images, allowing visitors to experience what viewers did more than 155 years ago. Display prints have been made to the same dimensions and style of the originals from high-definition Library of Congress digital files. To enhance the visitor’s experience, there will be a 3-D theatre to view the photos, which were shot with stereoscopic cameras, in the way they were originally intended.
Visitors will explore how American society portrayed death at the start of the Civil War, how these photos were received in 1862, and how the coverage of war has evolved since the publication of Gardner’s images into the present day.
Gardner’s studio was also an integral part of Clara Barton’s everyday life during the Civil War. Located one block from Barton’s boardinghouse on 7th Street, the studio became a hub of war-time activity as Gardner experimented with new photographic techniques and sold copies of his photographs. Like Gardner, Barton was also on the battlefield at Antietam and witnessed its slaughter firsthand.
For more information about the exhibition, contact Jake Wynn at [email protected]