The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is rethinking its branding and wants visitor feedback.
The Maryland museum’s logo currently includes a Confederate battle flag joined to a thirty-four star Union Flag and a Rod of Asclepius, a Greek medical symbol. As part of a rebranding campaign funded by a grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation, the museum is conducting an online visitor survey with several questions about the presence of both the Confederate and Union flags in its logo.
Numerous changes in the museum and American culture prompted the reconsideration. Since its opening in 1996, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine has expanded to two other properties, the Pry House Field Hospital Museum and the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum. The addition of these sites expands the museum’s focus beyond its initial interest in Civil War medicine in Frederick County. Each site also has its own logo, which may be confusing for visitors. At the National Museum of Civil War Medicine itself, staff have identified medicine as the museum’s primary focus and feel that the logo does not convincingly convey this.
Further, as the museum’s website states, general attitudes towards the Confederate flag have shifted in the last twenty years. White nationalist groups frequently fly the flag and perpetrators of racist terrorism have been pictured posing with it. The museum’s executive director David Price says that visitors have refused museum memorabilia with the flag on it and that he often receives emails expressing concern about the flag.
Results of the public survey will be given to marketing organization hired to lead the museum’s rebrand. Visitors can respond to the survey until September 1.