Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg National Military Park


Support Your Park

The Gettysburg Foundation

Two of Gettysburg National Military Park's primary partners, the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg and the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation, have merged their operations to create the Gettysburg Foundation. The new organization, a private, nonprofit educational organization, will continue to work in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg. In joining together, these organizations combine numerous assets in support of a common mission, assets that include thousands of volunteers, a variety of on and off-site educational programs, a successful track record of fundraising at the five, six and seven-figure level among corporate, foundation and individual donors, and an established grassroots fundraising network. The Museum Foundation offices are located adjacent to the site of the new Museum and Visitor Center at 1195 Baltimore Pike. Until the new Museum and Visitor Center opens in early 2008, that will serve as the headquarters for the Gettysburg Foundation. The Friends of Gettysburg, with thousands of members who have, since 1989, contributed their time and their talent in support of the park's preservation and educational missions, will continue to be the face of the organization from their headquarters in the historic Rupp House on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg.

For more information on the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation and the new organization, visit their web sites.

Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg
451 Baltimore Street
Gettysburg, Pa. 17325-4224

The Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation
1195 Baltimore Pike
P.O. Box 4224
Gettysburg, Pa. 17325-4224


Adopt A Position Program

The primary purpose of the Adopt-A-Position (AAP) program is to engage volunteers in helping to meet goals established by the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) to maintain the historic setting of the battlefield. Volunteers (VIP) help us by performing field maintenance and labor that otherwise would not be completed due to budget and/or staffing restraints.

VIPs donate time and labor in preserving a regimental position, battery locations, or brigade line. In most cases, regimental or battery positions will include a monument. Monuments like any historical feature on the battlefield have additional contributing elements or "assets". The assets include the foundation mounds (an important structural element of most of the regimental monuments) surrounding grounds, adjacent fences or walls, earthworks, any trails or walks to the sites, and may include the pasture in which the monument stands. All of these assets are important to the monument, and/or the positions held by the Union or Confederate troops during the battle. The park will provide site assessments to outline the maintenance needs of each site.

Volunteer Work May Include:

  • Appling topsoil, seed and straw (materials provided by park) to eroded monument mounds.
  • Raking and spreading grass seed on bare areas (monument mounds, turf areas, etc.).
  • Raking leaves.
  • Clearing brush from fences, stone walls, structures, earthworks and fortifications.
  • Re-stacking stone fences; fence restoration.
  • Building and repair fences.
  • Painting fences (paint and supplies will be provided).
  • Clearing pastures of weed growth and exotic shrubbery such as multi-flora rose and Japanese barberry.
  • Painting artillery carriages.
  • Planting seedlings.
  • Repairing and/or maintaining trails.
  • Collecting litter

There are specific guidelines for Adopt A Position volunteer! VIPs cannot work directly on a monument due to strict National Park Service technical standards designed for the protection of the physical condition of each monument.

Monument sites can receive treatments varying from general spruce up to labor-intensive landscape work. The park also has "orphan" positions available that include historic stonewalls and/or sections of fences or trails not identified with any particular military unit.

To Adopt A Position at Gettysburg:

Individuals or groups interested in the AAP program should contact Alan Stewart, the Adopt a Position Coordinator, at (717) 334-5533. A two-year commitment is required of volunteers to work a minimum of one day each during the spring and fall program. The individual or contact representative for a group will arrange a date two weeks before the time that a work party will be at the adopted site and provide the necessary support equipment to accomplish the goals for the site. All work at the project site must be pre-arranged with the AAP Coordinator. The address for the coordinator is:

The 2008 Adopt A Position Schedule:

The 2008 Adopt a Position Program will run from March 30 through June 7 and August 31 through November 22. Contact the program coordinator at (717) 334-5533 between the hours of 7:30 and 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday, to arrange for your group's work day. There will be no work performed on federal holidays or on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please remember to schedule your work dates at least two weeks in advance and do not work at your site without contacting the program coordinator.

Volunteer Agreements:

In the past we have required that each group or individual renew their commitment to the AAP program by signing a volunteer agreement every two years. The current agreements will be good for a minimum of two years and will renew automatically unless either the group or individuals involved in the program or the National Park Service cancel the agreement. The contact person for any group who wishes to terminate their agreement should contact the park AAP coordinator. If we do not have your current address, please contact the AAP coordinator at (717) 334-5533 with your new contact information.

Centennial Initiative 2016

(Gettysburg, Pa.) - Returning the Union army's battle line on Cemetery Ridge to its 1863 appearance at Gettysburg National Military Park is one of 201 proposalsNational Park Service (NPS) Director Mary Bomar and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced at a press conference in Yosemite National Park today to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the NPS.

"The National Park Service has, after a rigorous review, certified these proposals as eligible for Centennial Challenge matching funds," Bomar said, "and they are ready to go in Fiscal Year 2008 which begins Oct. 1."

The rehabilitation of Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg is one of nearly $370 million of proposals eligible for Centennial Challenge matching funds. NPS, in partnership with the nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation would rehabilitate some of the most historically significant land on the Gettysburg battlefield by removing the current visitor center building, the Cyclorama building, the parking lots and roads associated with these two buildings, removing overhead power lines, and re-establishing the historic landscapes at the center of the Union army's battle line in July 1863.

The Gettysburg Foundation's Campaign to Preserve Gettysburg includes rehabilitation of the center of the Union battle line, historic Ziegler's Grove, and other prominent features on Cemetery Ridge, as well as providing expanded educational opportunities for the public. The project area is 43.5 acres, containing historic houses, barns, fences, stone walls, and orchards, as well as commemorative features including more than 70 civil war monuments, seven of which will be relocated to their historic locations, where they had been placed by veterans of the battle, but had been subsequently moved during the construction of the Cyclorama building. The project also includes removal of 6,700 feet of intrusive power lines along the historic Taneytown Road corridor from Steinwehr Avenue to the horse trail crossing south of Granite School House lane. The power lines will be placed underground.

Director Bomar said, "The centennial challenge is a critical element in the National Park Centennial Initiative put forward by President Bush and unveiled by Secretary Kempthorne one year ago. The full centennial initiative is a potential $3 billion investment in our national parks, two-thirds of it a public-private partnership of matching money."

The President's fiscal year 2008 budget called for an additional $100 million a year for 10 years to be dedicated to bolster basic park operations, Bomar said. Congress has included the first $100 million for operations in the fiscal year 2008 budget that awaits final passage.

"The second part of the initiative is the Centennial Challenge - a funding mechanism to match up to $100 million a year over 10 years of public money with $100 million a year for 10 years in private donations," Bomar said. "Congress has yet to finish legislation necessary to create the public-private Centennial Challenge."

Financial commitments to the first round of proposals exceeded the President's challenge. "We have about $370 million in proposals with not $100 million in private commitments but $216 million committed from park visitors, friends groups and other partners," Bomar said.

"I've testified before Senate and House subcommittees and judging by the warm reception we received, I believe Congress will include Centennial Challenge money in our next budget. We look forward to working with members from both sides of the aisle to provide the key to the Centennial Challenge. When that happens we can make decisions on which of these wonderful proposals to begin in the fall."

Locally, Gettysburg NMP Supt. John P. McKenna said, "Our supporters at the Gettysburg Foundation have committed more than a two for one match of funds for the rehabilitation of Cemetery Ridge. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and we are excited to get this centennial project underway."

The list of proposals - at 116 parks in 40 states and the District of Columbia - touches parks nationwide with a centennial effort to inventory every living thing in the national park system.

To be certified, proposals had to be imaginative and innovative, addressed critical Service needs, had a philanthropic partner, required little or no additional recurring operating funds to be sustainable, improved the efficiency of park management, operations and employees and produced measurable results.

Other proposals:

· Lewis and ClarkNationalHistoricalPark adopting the Class of 2016 with the goal of turning students to stewards.

· Additional student education through AcadiaNational Park's "No Child Left Inside" project.

· Strengthening efforts to save Kemp's Ridley sea turtles - the world's most endangered sea turtle - with citizens assisting park rangers to observe and relocate nests on Padre Island National Seashore, the turtle's most important U.S. nesting habitat.

· Restoration of more than 50 miles of important foot trails in YosemiteNational Park.

· Climate change research of glaciers at Mount RainierNational Park and

· Utilizing scientists and volunteers to study life along the Appalachian Trail seeing national parks as an environmental barometer.

"There is a huge wave of excitement among National Park Service professionals and our partners," Bomar said. "We will create park-based centers for Junior Rangers, implement cutting-edge energy projects like fuel cells and geothermal and build multimedia wayside exhibits that "talk" to visitors. This is a victory for national parks and over 270 million park visitors we see each year.

"Last week, I sent an email to the men and women of the National Park Service to inform them of our announcement. One of the replies I received says it best: 'This is thrilling! A win/win opportunity like we've never seen before. Thanks for the energy and vision for the NPS.'

"That thanks," Bomar said, "is for the many who worked to transform vision into action: Secretary Kempthorne and our friends in Congress, from both sides of the aisle who introduced legislation to support the Centennial. But most of all, our thanks go to park superintendents, friends groups, partners and an army of supporters."

"When history is written," Bomar said, "the Centennial Initiative will be second only to the creation of the national park system itself."


Gettysburg National Military Park is the home of the George Rosensteel Collection, one of the largest such collections in the United States. Bequeathed to the National Park Service by the Rosensteel family, the collection is the center piece of the museum in the park Visitor Center, and features a vast collection of weapons, uniforms, soldier items, and relics of the Battle of Gettysburg. Some of these items are one of a kind and through the cooperation of other agencies, museums, and individuals, additional Civil War relics are on display side by side with exhibits of the Rosensteel collection.

The Park Library

The primary purpose of the park library is to manage the collection of books and records relative to the American Civil War, the Gettysburg Campaign, dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and the development, interpretation, and administration of Gettysburg National Military Park. Our holdings include bound volumes, vertical files, manuscripts, limited photographs, maps, microfilm and audio-visual materials as well as some rare first edition regimental histories, campaign studies, and memoirs. The library is a historic reference facility and study center for park staff to use for research, planning and writing park programs and to enhance the interpretation of the battlefield and National Cemetery.

The Gettysburg National Military Park library is open to the public by appointment only.

Office of Museum Services

The Office of Museum Services is responsible for the care and preservation of the park's collection of original historic objects and archival collections associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the creation of Gettysburg National Military Park. The park's archival collection contains original Civil War manuscripts, such as diaries, letters, and selected unit records, as well as manuscripts, photos, and maps relative to the development and history of Gettysburg National Military Park. The park's historic objects (museum) collection consists of three-dimensional items related to the Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg, and the post-war commemoration of the battle. The Office of Museum Services also has responsibility for the care and maintenance of the park's museum exhibits.

Access to the park's archival and object collections is available by appointment only during regular business hours on Mondays and Thursdays.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to examine archival items (such as letters, photographs, and maps), please call (717) 334-7101. If you would like to schedule an appointment to examine three dimensional objects, please call (717) 337-2111.

Goals of Battlefield Rehabilitation

One of the most important purposes of Gettysburg National Military Park is to preserve the topographic, landscape, and cultural features that were significant to the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg. However, many of those features have been obscured or changed over the years, as natural processes have been allowed to take over. As just one example, fields that have not been farmed over the past 65 years have become forests. In many cases, the lack of an accurate understanding of these historic topographic features and their significance has led to their loss. That loss, in turn, meant that neither visitors nor historians could fully understand the Battle of Gettysburg.


The National Park Service (NPS) is bringing back missing features that affected the fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg, a multi-year project with historical benefits and environmental benefits as well. The goals of the project are:


Restoring Gettysburg's historic integrity -Changes to the landscapes have occurred over time including the growth of trees, changing field sizes, and missing fences, orchards, and farm lanes. These changes obscure the key terrain, avenues of approach, and fields of fire that affected the outcome of the battle. As a result, some portions of the battlefield have changed physically. They can no longer convey to people today what it was like for the soldiers who fought there.


The project is being phased and includes the replacement of historic fencelines, orchards, and farm lanes as well as the return of grasslands, farmlands, orchards and woodlands that played important roles in the battle.


Enhancing visitor opportunities and understanding - Restoring the integrity of key battle areas contributes to improved educational experiences, and an overall greater understanding of the events as they unfolded on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. Battlefield rehabilitation is allowing visitors to have a more accurate understanding of obstacles faced by those on the field as well as the command decisions made by both armies. Over time, the project will offer new opportunities for visitors to see the battlefield through the soldiers' eyes.


Creating a sustainable historic environment by improving wetlands, water quality and wildlife habitat - Since the time of the battle, non-native species, hardwood stands, and changing agricultural landscapes have had a negative effect on the historic terrain. If left alone, the environment will continue to change and potentially obscure more historic lands.


By reestablishing grasslands, restoring wetlands, replanting orchards, and removing non-historic trees the NPS can rehabilitate the historic assets of the battlefield. Use of phased rehabilitation plans and long-term maintenance plans is improving the sustainability of the environment.


Long term improvements to the environment include: restoration of wetlands; fencing cattle from streams to improve water quality; and increasing habitat for grassland species, ground nesting birds and native plants.

During the early years of park management, selected commemorative elements were removed from the battlefield landscape for purposes of traffic flow and safety for park visitors. In recent years, the National Park Service realized the necessity for replacing these historic elements in the park and based on the 1999 General Management Plan, many of the signs and tablets removed during the 1930's and 1940's have since been restored to the park tour route. The most recent project was the rehabilitation and placement of the Itinerary Tablets for the "Army of Northern Virginia", completed in the summer of 2006. The tablets for the "Army of the Potomac" will also be replaced on the battlefield landscape within a few years.

Museum Services

The Office of Museum Services

Gettysburg National Military Park maintains a large and diverse museum collection that is used to tell the story of people and events surrounding the famous battle. As with all museums, only a small percentage of the collection is on exhibit. The items not on display are preserved in a controlled storage environment where they are protected and receive periodic use by researchers. The new visitor center and museum complex, currently under construction, will house the entire museum collection. Slated to open in April 2008, many of the primary relics and articles that are related to the Campaign and Battle of Gettysburg will be on exhibit as well as a number of items selected for their rarity and relevance to the story of the Civil War and the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery.

Unfortunately, during this process visitors will notice that some objects are no longer on exhibit in the current visitor center. Items have been periodically removed for conservation treatment in preparation for the move to the new facility where they can be properly placed in the new exhibits or stored until they are shown at a later date.

Behind the Scenes

Curatorial personnel work every day to catalog, organize, identify and preserve the collection, as well as assist anyone who wishes to conduct research in the archives or examine objects.

The park archives contains material relative to the history of the battlefield park as well as original plans for the battlefield, maps, drawings, and documents. Some of this is already available in the park library as part of the research collection.

The museum collection of Civil War artifacts has been the focus of preservation efforts in recent years, including the famous Rosensteel Collection. This massive collection required cataloging and preservation before it was moved to the temporary storage facility in the park and during this process, many of the items in this collection were found to be quite unique, including several with soldier identities. Conservation of the artifacts in the collection was a top priority and the process has consumed countless hours from park staff, interns and volunteers. The remainder of the collection, which was the property of the National Park Service or items borrowed on long term loan, has also undergone conservation and documentation to insure long term preservation and relevance.

The museum collection is also an educational resource. Interested parties have used many of the items in the collection for research purposes, both paper and photographic files as well as three-dimensional items. The office staff assists researchers while undertaking the conservation, cleaning and complete documentation of items in the collection as well as fitting each into its new home in the future museum.

Looking Ahead

Some objects that have become familiar to our repeat visitors are being treated and prepared for their new display cases and will once again be visible in the new building's exhibits. Most of the work involved in designing the new complex is going on behind the scenes with research and complete documentation of every item that will be incorporated into the exhibits. In the meantime, we ask that the public be patient as Curatorial personnel work every toward the day when new exhibits and a more accessible storage facility become a reality.

Camp Life: Civil War Collections

View some of the unique artifacts related to Civil War soldier life from the collection at Gettysburg National Park.

Water Quality

The principle streams in the park are Rock Creek, Marsh Creek, Willoughby Run, and Plum Run, which are components of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Although the streams are not large enough for recreational use, they support a wide diversity of aquatic biota. These surface streams are not currently monitored by the NPS for water quality on a regular basis.

In 1997 Pennsylvania began water quality studies for state streams that were not yet monitored. It was found that nonpoint sources were the main cause of water degradation of the parks’ streams. Some of these sources of pollution include runoff of fertilizers from agricultural lands and the introduction of fecal matter and sediments into streams by cattle grazing. Storm water runoff from residential areas is also a source of nonpoint pollution and Adams County is in the process of beginning a countywide storm water management plan with the support of the NPS.

Most of the water provided to the park staff and visitors is supplied by the Gettysburg Municipal Authority. Fifty-four percent of this water comes from groundwater aquifers. In 1997, groundwater wells outside of the park were analyzed by USGS for the presence of chemicals, trace elements, pesticides and purgeable organic compounds in order to characterize the water quality of the area. It was found that water at Gettysburg National Military Park is suitable for drinking.


The park is fortunate to have people willing to volunteer their time to assist with daily park operations and visitor services, participate in the "Park Watch" program, and provide time and labor for preservation and rehabilitation projects in the park.

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer at Gettysburg? It's an exciting time to join the Gettysburg staff as we transition into a new museum and visitor center facility. There is currently a waiting list for volunteer training and positions as we explore and define the types and number of positions that we will need to fill. There is so much to do, and we want to be able to bring you on board, equipped with the proper training and ready to serve the millions of visitors who come here each year from all across the globe.

First things first; Let us tell you more about volunteering with us. Then we'd like to know more about you, and your skills and interests.

What does a Visitor Services Volunteer do?

There are basically three types of visitor services volunteers: Interns, Information Desk VIPS, and Ambassadors. Interns are college students who spend the summer season with us, preparing and presenting two programs, helping out at the Information Desks, completing a special project, and gaining valuable career experience for the future. Our summer interns receive park housing and attend extensive training at the beginning of the season. They work 40 hours each week during the busy summer season. The summer intern cohort is selected by January 1, and requires a resume and cover letter.

Information Desk Volunteers are the backbone of our Volunteer Corps, and work at least a 4-hour shift per week at one of the park's Information Desks - Visitor Center, Cyclorama Center, West End Station. They answer visitor questions, provide orientation on how to visit Gettysburg, and generally serve the visitor and assist the ranger on duty. Most work all year round.

The third type of Visitor Services Volunteer is our new Ambassador. Ambassadors work mostly outside, in the parking areas and National Cemetery, to promote ranger programs and inform visitors of certain park policies and procedures. Ambassadors also rotate into the museum exhibits for part of their shift to answer questions and provide another friendly contact point. Like desk volunteers, ambassadors work at least one four-hour shift per week during the late spring, summer and fall seasons.

The members of our Gettysburg Volunteer corps are reliable, friendly and professional individuals who care about and are dedicated to the mission of Gettysburg National Military Park - to preserve and protect the resources associated with the battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provide understanding of the events that occurred here.

Our volunteers attend training once a year, and are oriented to their work station during the first few weeks "on the job". We provide a stipend to purchase a uniform, and rely on them to report to their duty station in a timely and consistent manner, giving us as much notice as possible when they are unable to make it. The best volunteer does not sign on for 20+ hours per week for a year; rather they show up for 4 to 8 hours each week for 5 or more years! Come join our volunteer family if this sounds right for you.

How do I sign on to become a future Gettysburg volunteer?

We'd like to know more about you, your skills and interests. Please direct a letter or e-mail to:

Be sure to include:

  • all of your contact information (address, phone, e-mail);
  • a brief description of past/present employment & volunteer experience;
  • the type of volunteer work you are interested in;
  •  your availability, and the # of weekly hours you would like to work;
  • answer: What are some of your objectives for working as a volunteer?

If you have further questions please contact Education Specialist Barbara Sanders by phone at 717-334-1124 x420.

The Gettysburg "Adopt A Position" Program

The park's highly successful Adopt-A-Position (AAP) engages volunteers in helping to meet goals established by the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) to maintain the historic setting of the battlefield. Volunteers assist the park by performing field maintenance and labor that otherwise would not be completed due to budget and or staffing restraints,a nd donate time and labor to preserve a regimental position, a battery location, or brigade line. Like any historical feature on the battlefield, monuments and markers have additional contributing elements or "assets". Assets include the foundation mounds (an important structural element of most of the regimental monuments) surrounding grounds, adjacent fences or walls, earthworks, trails or walks to the sites, or the pasture in which the monument stands. All of these assets are important to the monument, and/or the positions held by the Union or Confederate troops during the battle. The park will provide site assessments to outline the maintenance needs of each site.

Environmental Factors

With almost 2 million visitors a year, the natural resources of Gettysburg National Military Park are prone to stresses from pollution, traffic, and nearby development.  It is the mission of the park "to preserve and protect the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg...”.   Many features park managers strive to preserve are natural features such as topography, wooded areas, thickets and wetlands; which were all present during the battle.  At the time of the battle these features provided cover and concealment for attack and retreat. 

Today the park faces a different kind of battle.  With the increased mobility of our advancing society, the park is experiencing ecological changes.  Changes range from the introduction of invasive exotic plant species to the developing of lands surrounding the battlefield.  Park managers are taking an active role in addressing these changes with an adaptive management strategy.  As scientific research provides protocols for monitoring the parks present state, we are able to deduce areas of concern that need assistance.  Using research as tools, park managers can make decisions based on sound ecological or historical facts to ensure park resources are being protected.  Volunteers, local organizations, and university researchers provide additional assistance in identifying environmental concerns and making management decisions.

Park Library & Research Center

The park library maintains a collection of books and records relative to the American Civil War, the Gettysburg Campaign, dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery, and the development, interpretation, and administration of Gettysburg National Military Park. Library holdings include books, bound volumes, vertical files, manuscripts, limited photographs, maps, microfilm and audio-visual materials. Within our collection are a number of rare first edition regimental histories, campaign studies, and memoirs accessible by permission only. Our purpose is to maintain a historic reference facility and a database for park staff to use for writing and planning park programs, to enhance the interpretation of the battlefield and National Cemetery, and provide our visitors with the best park experience available.

The library is open for public research by appointment only. Appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance. The library is open Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Availability may be limited due to staffing limitations, so call for available dates. The library is closed on all Federal holidays. Researchers are required to sign in each time they use the facility. Access to the stacks, vertical files, and rare books is through the assistance of library staff only. Photocopies of materials will depend on the original's condition and any copyright restrictions. Requests for information about library collections can be made by mail or phone.

Policy on Requests for Duplicates: Effective June 6, 1998, requests for copies of material from the library must be made in writing and are limited to six requests per person per year. Copies are limited to 30 pages per request. We reserve the right to refuse requests to provide copies of entire files simply for personal collection. Some library holdings may not be reproduced due to poor condition or restricted use outside the park. Additionally, there are some documents we recommend be obtained from the original source or repository. Gettysburg National Military Park reserves the right to refuse any request for copies by parties outside of the National Park Service where conflict in copyright and ownership of materials may arise. The library staff is limited and replies will take time, so your patience is requested.

Library Address:

Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
Gettysburg PA 17325
Attn. Library

Phone: (717) 334-1124, ext. 1231 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST)
Fax: (717) 334-1997