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Harry Readshaw named to board of National Civil War Museum

 

March 28, 2006



State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has been elected to serve on the board of directors of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

The National Civil War Museum, opened on President Lincoln's birthday in 2001, is the largest museum in the nation related to this pivotal period of American history.

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed, founder and board vice chairman of the museum, said, “Representative Readshaw is nationally regarded as one of the elected officials who has done the most for the preservation of history, particularly Civil War history, and he is therefore an outstanding appointment to the national board.”

In 1997, after seeing a newspaper report of the deterioration of many of the hundred of monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield, Readshaw launched the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project. The goal of the project was to raise funds to ensure that the more than 140 monuments and markers commemorating the actions of Pennsylvanians at Gettysburg were cleaned and, where necessary, repaired. Virtually all the Pennsylvania monuments had been erected by veterans of the clash and were at least partially funded by appropriations authorized by the General Assembly.

The Monuments Project raised more than $330,000 to accomplish its immediate goal. It is now concentrating on establishing perpetual care trusts for each of the monuments to ensure they receive regular maintenance in the future. The group also alerted several other states about deteriorating conditions of their monuments, including Mississippi, New Jersey, Louisiana and New Hampshire, which took action to rectify the problems.

Readshaw also has been an active supporter of the historic Daniel Lady Farm in Gettysburg owned by the all-volunteer Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association. The organization is in the process of extensive restoration of the farm's barn and stone farmhouse, which both still exhibit signs of battle damage and served as Confederate field hospitals. Confederate commander Gen. Robert E. Lee met with commanders of his army's left flank at the farm on the first night of the three-day battle.

“The Revolutionary War established the independence and freedoms of the United States, but it was the Civil War that forged the nation as we know it today,” Readshaw said. “The American Civil War museum, perhaps better than anywhere else in the world, presents the story of the slavery and state's-rights issues that led to the war, and the horrific sacrifices and awe-inspiring bravery of soldiers in both blue and gray as the war of ‘brother against brother' played out.

“I am deeply honored to be entrusted as a steward of the precious relics and records contained in the National Civil War Museum and its growing role in educating new generations of Americans about this critical time in the nation's history.”

Reed echoed Readshaw's sentiments.

“To know and understand the causes, consequences and unresolved issues of the Civil War is to know and understand the nation and society in which we live today,” Reed said. “The National Civil War Museum is highly relevant to us in the new 21st century as a center of healing, unity and education.”

 

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