Lincoln’s Bullet, Sickles’ Leg

And many other “morbid” things, are going to a new home.

The $12 million relocation established a permanent home for an institution that has had 10 addresses since 1862. That’s when Surgeon General William Hammond directed medical officers in the field to collect “specimens of morbid anatomy” for study at the newly founded museum along with projectiles and foreign bodies. A photograph nearly covering one wall of the museum’s new Civil War exhibit shows amputated legs stacked like firewood.

The exhibit also includes the shattered bones of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles’ lower right leg, mounted for display beside a 12-pound cannonball like the one that hit him during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. Most of the museum’s objects, including 2,000 microscopes and hundreds of thousands of human brain specimens, are in an off-site warehouse.

I remember visiting this museum when I was a teenager on a school trip. We were going to the Smithsonian but at the time this was just around the corner and for a group of teenage boys this was so much more cool. Some definitely… morbid stuff there, but where else can you see the bullet that did in Abraham Lincoln?


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