Real or Fake? A Visit to the Gettysburg Dime Museum
Gettysburg is filled with many great museums. Whether you want to learn about the battle, explore how the battle affected the town’s citizens, or even if you want to see what the battle would have looked like if it had been fought by felines, there is a museum for you. However, if you want to explore the unusual and unexpected, there is no better place to visit than the Gettysburg Dime Museum.
The Gettysburg Dime Museum is located in a Civil War-era house along Baltimore Street in downtown Gettysburg. Opened to the public in May 2016, the museum is a re-creation of a 19th century dime museum. This type of museum featured displays of dubious authenticity and was popular as a carnival sideshow in the past.
Owner Mark Kosh had always had a fascination with these old sideshow exhibits and began collecting them in the mid-90s. A few years later, he began displaying his collection at fairs in the local area.
Eventually, Kosh decided to create a more permanent home for his collection, and the Gettysburg Dime Museum was born.
The museum is located entirely on the first floor of this Baltimore Street home and fills several large rooms with displays. Truthfully, each display is more odd than the next.
Some displays are obviously fake (such as the mummified remains of a demon), while others are obviously real (like the three-legged chick. Then there are the ones that are harder to figure out.
These include things like shrunken heads, a lock of Charles Manson’s hair, and personal items of John Wayne Gacy. Of course, the whole concept of the sideshow was to leave visitors scratching their heads and unsure if what they saw was real or imaginary.
For me, though, it would have been nice to have seen a bit of information on the pieces that described the true story of how they were acquired and the story behind the idea for the fake pieces. However, this isn’t the goal of the museum, and it is very interesting to browse the items and try to determine for yourself what is real and what isn’t.
Probably the most famous piece in the museum’s collection is the last bowel movement of President Abraham Lincoln. Encased in a clear case, this petrified piece of feces is both disgusting and fascinating. A handwritten letter above the items speaks to its authenticity. However, a typed letter below it calls it the work of a “fecal forger.” As with everything else in the Gettysburg Dime Museum, visitors are allowed to make up their own mind on the authenticity of this bowel movement.
Overall, the Gettysburg Dime Museum offers a great respite from the area’s fascinating Civil War history. If you’re looking for something a little quirky to do on your next visit to Gettysburg, this museum definitely fits the bill.
Note: My visit to the Gettysburg Dime Museum was hosted by the site. However, the opinions expressed are my own.
Gettysburg Dime Museum
Hours: Saturdays: 10a-5p
Cost: Adults: $7, Children: $5
Address: 224 Baltimore Street