Art & Design Magazine

Picture This: On This Day in 1864

By Americanart

Picture This: On This Day in 1864

Left: East Model room (Lincoln Gallery), 1856. Image courtesy of the Clara Barton National Historic Site, National Park Service. Right: Graffiti in the Lincoln Gallery today.

The American Art Museum building used to be the U.S. Patent Office Building. During the Civil War it also served as a barracks, a hospital, and the location of President Lincoln's second Inaugural Ball. We discovered this graffiti in the Lincoln Gallery on the third floor during the renovation of the museum building between 2000 and 2006. The inscription says "C.H.F. 1864 Aug 8th." At that time, the Lincoln Gallery was filled with patent models in tall cases on two levels either side of a central aisle. The perpetrator of the graffiti was probably an employee or a visitor, since thousands of people came to the building to inspect the patent models. Whoever did it, it's incredible to think of someone leaving their mark here exactly 148 years ago today.

Discover more about the history of the museum building by taking our Civil War History Audio Tour.

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