The Gettysburg Museum of History was founded by its curator, Erik L. Dorr. His ancestors moved to Gettysburg in 1818, eventually settling in Ziegler’s Grove, the location of Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd, 1863. The family farm in Ziegler’s Grove is now part of the Gettysburg National Military Park, managed by the National Park Service. After the federal government converted the lands of the Pfeffer family farm to be part of the Gettysburg National Military Park, the family relocated to the home where the Gettysburg Museum of History is located.
By Reg Jans
Since 2009, the museum is exhibiting its massive collections, including dozens of WWII artifacts, as a free tourist attraction in Gettysburg. It has become a community service for historians, history buffs, families and children to enjoy and learn from the past. You are very likely to meet Mr. Dorr at the Museum, where he passionately educates visitors about his historical collections and what makes them so interesting.
Among the Museum’s comprehensive collection are some of the personal belongings of WWII soldier John ‘Jack’ Agnew, paratrooper and original member of the much debated ‘Filthy 13’. Being part of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, Agnew’s unit parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and fought during Operation Market-Garden in the Netherlands. After taking advanced training, Jack jumped into Bastogne as part of the Pathfinder Team and had his photo taken sitting on top of a brick pile setting up the ‘Eureka’-beacon to indicate the designate supply drop zones.
About Bastogne Agnew wrote in a letter: “Just before we were to jump I remembered we never had enough first aid supplies so I pulled the kit off the side of the plane and went out the door with it. I carried it along to the top of the brick pile.”
Since June 2016, the Gettysburg Museum of History also exhibits their private collection of items that belonged to the late Major Richard D Winters. Still a Captain, Winters led the men from Easy Company of the 506 Parachute Infantry (of Band of Brothers fame) in Normandy and the Netherlands.