History and Overview of the Collections

When Gleason Public Library opened in 1896 some 50 items were presented for display in the Historical Room. These, along with other records and artifacts preserved by the town, formed the basis of the Town’s Collection. Today, this collection numbers well over 810 individual artifacts.

The Society’s Collection began with its founding in 1933. Members could donate an item in lieu of the annual 50 cent membership dues! A number of artifacts were accessioned during the early years and displayed with the Town Collection in the Historical Room of Gleason Library. The two collections have separate documentation records, both of which are being entered into a data base as part of a current project of the historical society.

The society continues to collect artifacts associated with Carlisle. Among recent donations are: archival collections of music and maps, and cream bottles from Bates Farm.

A collage of various artifacts from the Carlisle Historical Society collection

Various artifacts from the collection

What’s in the Collections?

The collections are being catalogued using The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloguing based on Chenhall’s system. The largest category for both collections is that of documentary artifacts, which includes books, photographs, letters, town records and a collection of 1,000 postcards! The artifacts document Carlisle’s history from its earliest times. There are a number of representative stone tools and points from the Native American period. Geological specimens also occur, in the form of rocks and minerals.

From infant’s clothing to soldier’s gear, the personal artifacts reflect the everyday lives and occupations of earlier times. There are fireplace cooking utensils, fine ceramics, carefully executed samplers, a large collection of carpenter’s tools, dance programs and mementos of all kinds!

The Heald Collection of Gettysburg Relics, part of the Town Collection, is particularly noteworthy. It is said to be the third best collection in existence of such relics, and includes everything from canteens to cannon balls to both a union and rebel drum!

For questions about the collections, contact the Collections Manager, Philip Drew.

To learn more about the artifacts, see articles previously published in the Carlisle Mosquito on the links page.

YOUR Collection Tip!

Have a newspaper clipping you want to preserve? Photocopy it onto acid free paper and save the photocopy. Do the same for those old, yellowing clippings — they won’t last!


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