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DISPLAYS / Re: War of 1812 Exhibit and Uniform
« Last post by Rakkasan187 on Today at 12:28:43 PM »
Thanks Paul...

Let me know what else you would like to see from our collection...

DISPLAYS / Re: War of 1812 Exhibit and Uniform
« Last post by Scarecrow on Today at 11:59:38 AM »
DISPLAYS / War of 1812 Exhibit and Uniform
« Last post by Rakkasan187 on Today at 08:42:54 AM »
One more exhibit that is in the NCO Museum. This exhibit focuses on the War of 1812. The accouterments identifying NCO's on the battlefield and responsibilities of NCO's dramatically increased in this war. The responsibility of carrying the "Ensign" or Colors into battle was relinquished by Officers and was given to NCO's. In order to be a color bearer you had to be an NCO of high standards and morals. The success or defeat of a unit on the battlefield in large part was due to the color bearers. Visual recognition and communication on the battlefield was conducted through the unit flags. Units would maneuver, reconsolidate and reorganize by locating their flags on the battlefield. NCO's of the time were the glue that held these linear formations together. This was a huge responsibility for NCO's. The mannequin by the fence post is an NCO, identified by the shoulder epaulettes and for easier identification on the battlefield the red sash was also added to the NCO uniform. The mural in the background shows the entire front rank wearing the red sash. This is indicative of the NCOs' position on the battlefield "Leading From the Front" which is what NCO's have done and continue to do today.

The uniform in the glass case to the right of the exhibit is an original 1812 uniform that was placed on exhibit from our uniform collection. Special consideration for the lighting was taken into consideration when we decided to deploy this uniform. The fluorescent lights around the area were removed and replaced with LED lighting on track bars. This change in lighting will help to better preserve this uniform from the dangers of constant light exposure. We will remove this uniform in about 3 more months in order to let it recoup, and we will place another period uniform in another exhibit. Another way of exhibiting an artifact while protecting it from hands and elements. Since we have the angled "horse stable" open exhibits, we were trying to think of ways of exhibiting the original uniform. Since the original is 200 years old we can't place it on a mannequin without doing long term damage. For example the strain of the uniform hanging on the body form would put stress in the shoulders and weaken threading causing separation at the seams. It is our job to ensure that we are preserving the artifacts and conserving them for future generations, so a lot of thought and consideration goes into planning when using original artifacts. What you have is the standard glass table exhibit case. We removed the legs and drilled through the bottom of the case and bolted the case into the frame of the "stable". We then took an archival based acid free barrier to protect the uniform. We used acid free tissue paper and stuffed the arms and the upper chest area to "fill in the voids" so that cloth is not resting on cloth putting unnecessary pressure on the uniform.

Once again hope you enjoy this little walk back in NCO History...

DISPLAYS / Long Range Recon Patrol Vietnam with ERDL Camoflauge
« Last post by Rakkasan187 on Today at 08:06:00 AM »
Here is another recent exhibit that is in the hallway of the Command Group at the US Army Sergeant's Major Academy. A Long Range Recon Patrol member with the ERDL pattern jungle fatigues. The web gear in M1956 canvas pattern and all items in the exhibit are from my personal collection. The compass that is being carried by the recon trooper actually belonged to Isaac "Ike" Camacho. He was a Special Forces guy who was captured by the Vietnamese and he escaped. He was a US postal carrier in El Paso for years and through a Special Forces Chaplain I was given this compass.

There are some items in the exhibit that are unique and not everyone knew of their use. The Chie Hoi program propaganda leaflets and plastic bags that held 20 round M-16 magazines, some had never heard of, as well as the AN/PRT 4 radio transmitter and AN/PRR 9 helmet receiver..

We will keep this exhibit up for a few months as we prepare to change out our WW1 exhibit after the Centennial in November 2018.

Hope you enjoy this small exhibit..

DISPLAYS / Re: The Winter at Valley Forge 1777-1778
« Last post by Scarecrow on September 18, 2018, 01:19:32 PM »

Another great exhibit.  We are fortunate on this Forum to have two great museum curators like yourself and Scott G.  "Keep em coming", would also love to see pictures of the 1812 original uniform.  Thanks again.
DISPLAYS / Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Last post by Scarecrow on September 18, 2018, 01:17:05 PM »

Love that 69th display!  Great work.
DISPLAYS / Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Last post by Rakkasan187 on September 18, 2018, 11:46:24 AM »

Thank you very much for the kind words. A lot of planning and discussion does go into the exhibits. We want to interpret accurately the events..

We use a combination of original and high quality replica uniforms and equipment in the exhibits. Most of the uniforms we have from the Rev war to WW1 are too delicate to be placed on mannequins so we display them in other ways so that the public can still see authentic items. In the War of 1812 exhibit we have an original uniform in a glass case next to a mannequin wearing a reproduction so the visitor can see what the actual period uniform looks like. We are required by regulations to remove such original artifacts from exhibit after they have been on display so they can "breathe" again. Once removed we do conservation reports and also gently clean and vacuum artifacts before placing them back in storage. By rotating our artifacts it shows how diverse we are as a museum and how we tell the NCO story through history..

I will post pictures of other exhibits so everyone can see what we have on display now. But as we move forward, the exhibits will change, so this is a good chance to capture what we have and there will be photographic history when the exhibit is removed and replaced...

DISPLAYS / Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Last post by Phill Lockett on September 18, 2018, 11:25:27 AM »
Superb Smitty.

What a great team you have there, you can see a lot of thought and discussion went into this display.

I can only see more of these wonderful display's being set up over the years.

Where did you get all the uniforms, flags and other items from, are there any original period items?

Again well done and you should be proud of what you and your team have done.


DISPLAYS / Re: The Winter at Valley Forge 1777-1778
« Last post by Rakkasan187 on September 18, 2018, 07:46:06 AM »
With this exhibit, we used excess fence material from our Civil War exhibit and built what looks like a perimeter fence or wall. We initially were going to build the side of one of the wood huts at Valley Forge but did not have materials or time. (We had to be ready for V.I.P) tours in a few days time. This project only took us 2 days to complete. Once the wall was hung we put down gravel and other small rocks. We found some artificial snow at one of the local hobby shops and spread that on the ground to give the winter effect. We had an old bench and wood bucket that added to the display.

The last thing we wanted to do was give the impression of the harsh winter conditions so the mannequin sitting has burlap wrapped around his feet and we had some firewood that we burned a little with a torch and for the last touch we ran an extension cord under the rock to an outlet and plugged in a flickering orange fire lightbulb that we found at a Halloween store to give the camp fire some belief that it was actually burning..

So again just some imagination and a little experimenting and we have developed another exhibit. Some of the visitors tell us that by looking at the figures with the snow and fire, they can actually "feel" the cold...

DISPLAYS / Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Last post by Rakkasan187 on September 18, 2018, 07:35:05 AM »
Thank you Scott,

We do not have any professional exhibit specialists on staff. This was designed and built by myself, 2 Sergeants and the Director. We first started by pulling the ceiling tiles and removing the overhead. We then painted the ceiling black and covered the areas that were exposed with gator board/foam board. The mural in the background was done by one of the wives of a staff and faculty member at the Sergeants Major Academy. Initially she had painted on the concrete blocks a mural of the El Paso Franklin Mountains, but we decided to change up the exhibit and rather than paint over her work, we drilled 2x4s into the existing wall and hung sheets of lumber on that. This gave the artist a clear canvas to paint the cornfield on. We built a small stage to raise the platform a little and while the artist was painting we gathered other supplies. The fence posts came from Home Depot and we shaved them down to "weather them". The side of the barn was done by using old shipping pallets that we retrieved from the fort bliss dump. We went out there one day with saws and tore apart about 40 pallets to use the wood. The barn shingles were also cut down pallet wood that we white washed with white and grey paint and then wiped the nearly dry paint to get the weathered effect. Once we done with the outer design we focused on the corn field. We had to do some digging for the cornstalks. Initially we found a person that makes them for movie sets but he wanted $10,000 which was crazy, so we found a vendor (Can't recall who) that had what we needed for near pennies compared to the Hollywood guy.. The next challenge was how to place the stalks into the stage. We decided to build up rather than drill into the stage. So the dirt mounds of the corn field rows is actually the spray foam that expands. We bought about 10 cans and formed the dirt with the foam. We also sunk PVC tubes into the foam and placed the corn stalks over the PVC so they stalks would stand. We bent a few of the stalks in half to give the impression that Soldiers had knocked them over while advancing. The ground was a mixture of various paints and wood stains we had in storage and the saw dust effect was wood chips for guinea pig cages found at pet stores.

The entire process took about 4 months to complete after gathering the supplies and then working around tours and other commitments. A you enter the front doors to the museum this is directly in front of you..

It was a fun project, we get a lot of comments and when we tell folks some of our methods of construction they can't believe the ingenuity and the ideas that we have.. So with exhibit we do, we go out of the bounds of what an exhibit specialist would do to give our "wow" factor..

I'm sure that your volunteers do a remarkable job with the exhibits. Since we do not have a lot of funds (actually no funds) we use our imaginations and come up with some pretty neat ideas.. Feel free to pass my information along to any of your folks. I would be happy to give what limited suggestions I may have for exhibit construction..

A future project  that I am working on will be a Korean war bunker constructed out of 105mm wood artillery crates. The Ammunition Supply Point for the Fort Bliss units is about 45 minutes from us and I have been working with them to get me ammunition cans and expended brass and cloth bandoleers to help enhance exhibits. They are setting aside the wood ammo crates for the bunker. So in the next year (2019) we may have the bunker scene complete..

Anyway,, feel free to contact me anytime..

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