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Seminary breaks ground on museum

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, one of the leaders in the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, began a $13 million rehabilitation of Schmucker Hall April 25.

Matt Funke/Lutheran Theological seminary
Michael Cooper-White (right), president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and Brandon James, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod vice president and Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation trustee, hold a shovel on groundbreaking day, with a geothermal well-drilling rig and the chapel behind them.

Built in 1832, the campus building was the center of the Union lines and last ditch stand on July 1, 1863, as well as a field hospital for more than 600 soldiers. Archeological finds on the site have included letters to wounded soldiers, medicinal containers and 19th century seminary artifacts.

Considered by many to be the most important Civil War building not in the public trust, the hall will open as a museum next spring, in time for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in July. The museum will help bring to life the battle, care for the wounded and human suffering, and moral, civic and spiritual debates of the Civil War era. The project also includes a historic walking path on the 52-acre campus.

Other partners on the museum project include the Adams County Historical Society and the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation. Major funding comes from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Federal Highway Administration, Commonwealth Cornerstone Group, PNC Bank and others.


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