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Author Topic: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...  (Read 310 times)

Offline Rakkasan187

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The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« on: September 17, 2018, 11:43:04 AM »
Remembering the Civil War's "Bloodiest Days"..

This is one of our exhibits at the US Army NCO Museum at Fort Bliss, Texas. This exhibit shows the 69th Irish Brigade in the cornfield at Roulette Farm. The unit has just crossed the Antietam Creek and are making preparations to move forward after knocking down the fence into what will be known as the "Bloody Lane". The Irish boys were ordered to drop packs and were prepping to advance. This exhibit portrays all the NCO Chevrons of the period. The Sergeant Major in the background in the cornfield, the Color Corporal carrying the 69th Brigade Colors, The Guard Sergeant, the Color Sergeant carrying the National Colors (We are still waiting on a Civil War Flag to arrive) the Ordnance Sergeant in the back ground and the 1SG tunic on the door of the barn...

We constructed this exhibit about 1.5 years ago and is the center attraction at the museum. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did constructing it...

Smitty

"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

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Offline ScottG

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Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2018, 09:58:32 PM »
  What can one say??? It a work of art! You are giving my volunteers deep feeling of inadequacies... we need to step it up at our museum. I would love to have a scene like this with our cannon and limber.   Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Reply #2 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..

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Phill Lockett

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Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Reply #3 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.

cheers

Phill
Regards

Phill

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2018, 11:46:24 AM »
Phill,

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...

Smitty 
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2018, 01:17:05 PM »
Smitty,

Love that 69th display!  Great work.

Offline Kohima

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Re: The 69th Irish Brigade, September 17, 1862, Antietam...
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2018, 08:14:48 AM »
Wow, nice !


K
On the edge of a tennis court far, far from home, the Sgt. shouted: Son, pass me a grenade !  The Battle of Kohima. Naga Hills, 1944.

Valhalla I am coming !........Led Zeppelin

 

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