The Town Collection
When Gleason Public Library opened in 1896, some 50 artifacts were presented for display in the Historical Room. These, along with other artifacts and records preserved by the town, formed the basis of the Town’s Collection. Today, this collection numbers well over 810 individual artifacts, including relics from the Battle of Gettysburg. This set of Gettysburg artifacts is believed to be the third best collection in existence, and it includes everything from canteens to cannon balls, to union and rebel drums!
The Society Collection
With its founding in 1933, the Carlisle Historical Society began collecting artifacts. In fact, members could donate an artifact in lieu of the annual 50 cent membership dues! A number of artifacts were accessioned during the Society’s early years and were displayed with the Town Collection in the Historical Room of Gleason Library. The Society continues to collect and share artifacts that represent Carlisle’s history. Recent donations included: Carlisle’s antique cabinet of scales, weights, and measures, along with the original Carlisle Castle playground sign that was removed when the Castle was replaced in 2022.
What’s in the Collections?
The Town and Society Collections are comprised of a wide range of artifacts. The single largest collection category, however, is documentary artifacts, which includes books, photographs, letters, town records, as well as a set of 1,000 postcards! All of the artifacts document Carlisle’s history from its earliest times. In addition to the documentary artifacts, the Collections contain a range of personal and occupational artifacts, representing the everyday lives and work of early Carlisle residents. There is infant’s clothing and soldier’s gear, fireplace cooking utensils and fine ceramics, carefully executed samplers, an array of carpenter’s tools, dance programs and mementos of all kinds! There is also a number of representative stone tools and points from the Native American period, as well as geological specimens of rocks and minerals. To read more about the Town and Society Collections, see previously published articles in the Carlisle Mosquito.
Donate an Artifact
To donate an artifact, visit our Donate page.