Volunteers Share Love of Barns With Visitors
The summer of 2021 marked the institution of a successful partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation centered on its George Spangler farmstead. Over the course of the past two summers, HGAC volunteers shared their love for and knowledge of our beautiful Pennsylvania barns with hundreds of visitors, using the stellar Spangler Barn as a teaching tool.
The barn is not only a stunning example of a Pennsylvania bank barn, but also was employed by the Union Army as a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.
HGAC's "Summer at Spangler” program will continue for a third year at the Foundation’s Spangler Farm in 2023, beginning on Saturday, May 27 and continuing through August 13.
The Spangler Farm is located at 488 Blacksmith Shop Road, Gettysburg, PA 17304. A shuttle runs from the battlefield's Visitor Center to the farm, and on Family Days visitors can drive into the farm property and park for free.
HGAC docents will be present from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Spangler barn on the following Sundays:
• June 11, 18, 25
• July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
• August 6, 13
Access to the farm on these dates is by shuttle only. Visitors can get shuttle tickets at the Visitor Center’s ticket counter. See the Gettysburg Foundation’s website for further specifics.
The Foundation also hosts three “Family Days” when admission is free and a visitor can drive directly onto the farm without the shuttle. These special days this year will be on the following Saturdays: Opening Day on May 27, September 2 and October 7. HGAC volunteers will be present on these dates also.
Each weekend at the Farm features different reenactors or living historians depicting various facets of the times: military units; medical services; civilian life during the period, etc. The Foundation docents also address many aspects of the Farm from family history to life on a 19th Century farm to the impact of the battle on this critically placed farm.
In the Foundation's February 2023 edition of Preservation & Progress, Ron Kirkwood, author of Too Much for Human Endurance, notes the importance of The George Spangler Farm as a field hospital in the Battle of Gettysburg and writes about the summer programs:
"The farm is open to the public on summer weekends and three free Family Days each year, drawing hundreds of visitors per day. Knowledgeable guides and living historians who love and appreciate the farm help share its stories. Historic Gettysburg Adams County has taken an active and appreciated interest in the farm and offers youth programs and volunteer barn experts. . . So not only has the Foundation had the courage and vision to preserve the George Spangler farm’s past, it likewise is securing its future as an important educational and historic Civil War site."
Of course, the Spangler barn, winner of the HGAC Barn Preservation Award in 2017, is the centerpiece of the farm and various presentations take place in it. But the overwhelming focus of the presentations is on the role of the barn and property in the weeks before and after the battle, especially its role as the 11th Corps Field Hospital.
It is this bounded view of the barn that belies its importance as a premier example of the Standard Pennsylvania Barn. It stood there for years prior to the battle and continues to lend its majesty to the farm. The focus of the HGAC and the Preservation Committee volunteers is to introduce visitors to the architectural features and cultural importance of the barn.
HGAC's volunteers address the barn not so much in its medical role but rather as a notable example of regional vernacular architecture in its own right. Centered on an exhibit space under the forebay, HGAC docents will address topics such as its construction and its place in the life of a farm. Be assured, your docents will be ready to represent HGAC to a large and diverse audience, enthralling visitors with their knowledge of our iconic Pennsylvania Barn.
Questions can be directed to Greg Kaufmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 931-217-0269.