Civil War medicine museum in Frederick names director

March 13, 1994|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Western Maryland Bureau of The Sun

FREDERICK -- The former executive director of restoration at Maryland's historic 17th-century settlement, St. Mary's City, has been chosen to head a new museum here devoted to 19th-century medicine.

Burton K. Kummerow, chief of interpretation and exhibits for the Maryland Historic Trust, will be executive director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, which is to open in downtown Frederick in late 1995 or early 1996.

Mr. Kummerow, 53, who for several years was executive director of the Historic St. Mary's City Commission -- the government-funded keeper of the state's oldest Colonial village -- was chosen from a national field of about 100 candidates, said John E. Olson, a museum board member.

"His enthusiasm for the project made him stand out," Mr. Olson said. "He was the most genuine and the most sincere. Coincidentally, he just happened to be from Maryland."

Mr. Kummerow will take his new post officially in mid-April.

Among his first tasks will be raising money. About $4.5 million is needed for the renovation of the 19th-century building that will house the museum, exhibits, operating expenses and staff.

Museum officials have raised nearly $200,000.

Officials of the privately owned museum, declined to divulge Mr. Kummerow's salary.

Mr. Olson said Mr. Kummerow, who also has been involved with state tourism and museum groups, helped to raise several million dollars for the preservation of St. Mary's City and recently garnered about $500,000 to evaluate the remains of three 17th-century coffins.

Mr. Kummerow's vision for the museum is to tell the story of men and women who provided care during the Civil War, how soldiers fought disease and responded to medical care and the innovations that took place.

The Civil War, for instance, marked firsts for the use of anesthesia, fixed-bed and field hospitals, ambulance corps and the treatment of thousands of injured people at a time, said Mr. Kummerow, a Civil War buff who once worked as a seasonal ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park.

The museum will house more than 3,000 medical artifacts collected by Dr. Gordon Damman, chairman of the museum board. The museum is expected to attract about 100,000 people year.

Mr. Kummerow also has been a writer and producer for the

Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting and has held teaching fellowships at the University of Maryland and Ohio University.

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