Volunteers sought for Civil War exhibit

August 08, 2010

SHARPSBURG -- The National Park Service is seeking volunteers to staff the visitor center at a Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Exhibit and Visitor Center that is scheduled to open in September at Antietam National Battlefield's Newcomer House.

No specific knowledge or skills are required to volunteer at the exhibit and visitor center, but a willingness to deal with the public in a cordial manner is important, according to information in an e-mailed release.

"The volunteer's primary duty will be to greet visitors as they stop in, orient them and provide information," Antietam National Battlefield Volunteer Coordinator Christie Stanczak said. "We provide all the necessary training and uniforms."

The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (HCWHA) Exhibit and Visitor Center is made possible by a cooperative agreement between Antietam National Battlefield and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the release says.


The CVB has obtained $24,000 through the National Park Service's Challenge Cost Share Program and was awarded a $24,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), according to the release.

The money will be used for exhibit design and fabrication, furnishings and grand-opening festivities. The CVB will act as the project's financial entity, coordinating procurement and purchasing.

The visitor center will be staffed with volunteers and will be open seven days a week from May to October, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in April and November.

The CVB has taken on the lease agreement with the park service, and is paying the utilities for the building, the release says.

There is already "gateway signage" at the Newcomer House, and more interpretive signs will be installed in the months to come. Three rooms in the front of the house will interpret the three major themes of the heritage area -- In the Heat of Battle, Beyond the Battlefield and On the Homefront -- and will direct visitors to sites that relate to each theme. A large room in the back of the house will provide additional visitor information pertaining to the three counties in the heritage area: Carroll, Frederick and Washington.

The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area is one of 11 state-certified Heritage Areas in Maryland. Operating under the auspices of the Tourism Council of Frederick County Inc., the HCWHA has a 21-member advisory board comprised of representatives of local government units, state and national parks, and private organizations from all counties.

How to volunteer

Those wanting more information or to sign up to volunteer may call Park Ranger Christie Stanczak at 301-432-4567 or send e-mail to her at or may call Chief Ranger Ed Wenschhof at 301-432-2243 or send e-mail to him at


More information about the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area can be found at http://www.heartofthecivilwar.

More information about the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area can be found at

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