Friday, December 12, 2008

Restoration Tour in conjunction with David Wills House Grand Opening, Gettysburg, PA

Shriver House Restoration Tour
Tour Will Give An Inside Look at the Restoration of a Historic Home in Gettysburg.

Gettysburg, PA – After a major restoration and in honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday on February 12, 2009, the David Wills House in downtown Gettysburg will celebrate its Grand Opening, offering visitors a world-class museum experiences that tells the story of Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. In honor of the restoration of the Wills House, the Shriver House Museum is offering restoration tours the Shrivers’ home at 7 pm on Friday and Saturday, February 13 and 14, 2009.

Located just a few blocks south of the Wills House, the Shriver House Museum was restored in 1996. The two-story brick house was built just months before the Civil War began but 136 years later, the house had missing window panes, no electricity, no water, no heat and a serious leak in the roof. At one time nearly thirty cats lived in the abandoned house. The house was restored to be used as a backdrop to tell the stories of the civilian side of the Battle of Gettysburg.

While the house was undergoing a major restoration, many questions arose. Who built the house? What was the owner’s occupa­tion? And what happened to the residents of the house during the battle? It was difficult to find anyone who knew much information about the house or its original owners, but after countless hours of arduous research, George and Hettie Shriver’s story gradually began to unfold.

Restoring the house began on January 2, 1996. The work was a grubby, backbreaking, eight-to-ten-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week undertaking, but it was definitely a labor of love. That winter brought record breaking low temperatures, more than a hundred inches of snow and two major floods that made national news. But the rewards far outweighed the obstacles, because each day brought about new discoveries. In addition to learning more and more about the Shriver family, countless treasures were found within the house - inside walls, underneath fireplace hearths and under floorboards. Among the artifacts discovered were six Civil War cartridges, a number of percussion caps and Civil War medical supplies which had been hidden inside the house, and much, much more!

The Shriver House Museum has earned numerous awards including the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Historic Preservation Award. The Museum has been used as a filming site for PBS, The Discovery Channel, A&E, HGTV, CNN, BBC, The Travel Channel and The History Channel. For additional information on the Shriver House Museum or to make reservations for a Restoration Tour, please call 717-337-2800 or visit

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shriver House Staff visits Rob Gibson Studio

The Shriver House Museum staff recently gathered for their first formal group photograph at Gibson's Photographic Gallery in Gettysburg . It was an exciting experience to watch Rob Gibson create a photograph employing the same process used in the 1860's. The authentic camera lens Rob uses originally belonged to a Civil War photographer named Walzl. This same lens may well have been used to photograph Jefferson Davis, John Mosby and the Confederate capital. Gibson's methods are authentic and true to the art as well. “We try to make the entire process as authentic as possible . . . we are sticklers for authenticity” said Rob.

Rob’s photographs have appeared in the movies " Cold Mountain ," "Gods and Generals," and "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge " as well as Civil War Times, American Profile, and numerous documentaries and films. He has become widely recognized as one of the foremost experts on wet-plate photography in the world. Rob has the uncanny ability to transport his subjects through time with the magic of his artistic skills and technical knowledge of antique photography.

The next time you visit Gettysburg , stop by the Shriver House Museum to take a look at the Shriver House “family” portrait. Also plan to visit Mr. Gibson's studio on Steinwehr Avenue and learn more about this amazing process.