Preserving History at Ulysses S. Grant NHS
I had the opportunity to visit Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (MO) on my spring break. While we were there, I met with Ranger Nick Sacco, the Historian Curator at this park. He has worked with the National Park Service for nine years. Some of his responsibilities include preserving artifacts, researching, cataloging, and developing exhibits to help tell the park’s story.
The artifact room is kept at a cooler temperature and kept dark to help preserve items. We saw where they take pictures of the artifacts and give them a catalog number. The artifacts are kept in drawers and boxes with acid-free tissue paper. Most of the displays in the museum are permanent, others get rotated. It keeps the museum exhibits interesting because you might see something that wasn’t there before.
Ranger Nick showed us some of his favorite artifacts. We saw a colored glass lantern that said “Grant and Wilson”, used to campaign for the presidential election. There was a 3-star shoulder bar from Grant’s Civil War uniform when he was the Major General of the Union Army. We also saw an 1860 photograph of the Whitehaven house. This photograph helped them restore the house and fence to their original look. We got to see a few pieces of the set of China given to the Grants by Japan during their world tour after Grant’s presidency. One drawer had an original newspaper from 1865. The headline said that President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated.
While I was there I toured the restored Whitehaven house with Ranger Jared. We saw the stables which are in the original building, but most of it is turned into a museum with displays. I completed the Bicentennial and Standard Junior Ranger books and earned my Junior Ranger badge. When you visit you should watch the park film, tour the house and see the museum.