The National Museum of Civil War Medicine wasted no time Wednesday getting its new logo out to the public. At the unveiling of the new logo at the museum, the old logo, featuring the Union and Confederate flags, was being scraped off the front door.

By the time the presentation was over, the new logo — free of flags — was hanging on a sign at the building on East Patrick Street in downtown Frederick.

The new logo, which is shaped like a shield and features a caduceus and three stars, will also be used by the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office in Washington, D.C., and the Pry House Field Hospital Museum in Keedysville. The caduceus is a long-standing military medical symbol, and is often confused with the Rod of Asclepius, which was used in the original museum logo.

It was important that the three museums use the same logo, said David Price, the museum’s executive director. New members who signed up at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office were often confused when they received materials with a completely different logo and museum name.

He also noted that the logo with the two flags does not really fit the Clara Barton story.

“That story has outgrown that logo,” he said.

Price did not think that the flags were necessary to represent the story the museums tell — stories of medicine, civilian lives and a pioneering nurse.

“One of the challenges was to satisfy those die-hard historians who think in order to be a Civil War museum ... you’ve got to have those flags in there,” Price said. “But we didn’t necessarily agree with that as we progressed through this process. And then it became very clear that [it] almost held us back from the incredible story that we tell.”

The shield, the base of the new logo, represents academia, protection and the military.

Price said that determining which rod to use was the most controversial issue among the board members, employees and staff, who played a large part in the process.

“Don’t get me wrong, there were people who had opinions on the Confederate flag, but this was the hot-button issue. ... And I was shocked by that,” Price said.

The two snakes that are wound around the staff can be representative of the North and the South, Price said. But more literally, Civil War stewards wore the symbol on their sleeves to denote they were noncombatants.

“I think we ended up making the right choice,” he said.

The shield is divided into three colors: blue, red and gray. The blue represents the Union, the gray represents the Confederacy, and the red represents the most common color for field hospitals during the war — in addition to the blood shed in the conflict.

The colors come to a single point at the bottom of the shield and then fan out toward the top, which Price said represents the beginning of the Civil War and its long, wide-reaching repercussions.

Lastly, the three stars represent the three museums managed by the organization.

A company called Invictus designed the logo. Price was grateful for the professional design, which he said will still be recognizable and polished in a variety of ways, including black and white.

“It’s got a lot of flexibility,” Price said. “Our old logo did not have that.”

The logo redesign was part of a larger rebranding campaign launched last August, which was funded by a $25,000 grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation. The main goal of the campaign was to unite the three museums visually, in addition to potentially removing the flags from the logo. The inclusion of the Confederate flag had prevented the museum from advertising in certain publications before, according to previous reporting from The Frederick News-Post.

In addition to input from board members, the campaign included a public survey that garnered 3,000 responses.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to get out there in the community more,” said Joanna Jennings, deputy director of the museum.

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(22) comments


after getting rid of the confederate statues, flags, etc. how long will it take before they don't even teach about the civil war in schools. After all you have to have an enemy to go to war with. Eventually we can pretend it never happened


I think they've done a great job with the redesign. Nice logo!

Joey Pesto

Very nice new logo! They did a great job with the refresh. Also, we here in Frederick are so lucky to have the Ausherman Foundation who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to make our community shine. Thank you, Marvin!!!


I really don't care and I think the sign is a great neutral representation. My only concern is that this is a step one, in removing all confederate symbols from the museum. Rewriting history seems to be the passion of both conservatives and progressives. We, those in the center, need to stop it.


Joel, Reasonable concern, but I don't see that happening, as I think the people against the old logo tend to be big supporters of the museum.


total waste of time in my book call me old but you can't change everything so you can pretend it didn't happen history is history


You are old. No one is pretending it didn't happen. We just aren't celebrating it. Should we have the british flag displayed along with every Revolutionary War monument or museum?


Shiftless, Take a look at the American flag that preceded the "Betsy Ross" flag. Since the National Museum of Civil War Medicine is representing the medical history of both sides, it is appropriate using both flags was appropriate. With this new design do you object to the grey? If the logo appeared without the words I wouldn't necessarily know that it was a museum that focused on Civil War medicine but since the logo probably won't appear without the words it shouldn't matter.


That flag means something different and deeper to people of color, particularly those descended from slaves. This sign is perfectly understandable without the flag.


Shiftless, I was referring to the Grand Union flag (adopted in Dec. 1775). We took what we "hated" and integrated it into our flag and therefore displayed the British flag within our flag.


Les, You lost me. How does changing the logo pretend history didn't happen? They didn't change what is in the museum. They didn't change what is in history books. They didn't change what is in the internet.


It appears this rebranding effort only cost $25,000 ( as compared to the City’s wasted $45,000) and the work was performed by a local company. It would be an interesting article for the FNP to compare the two rebranding efforts, expenditures, and hired consultants.


Nice logo. The blue and gray effectively symbolizes the two sides of the conflict without the flags.


It looks like the jersey crest for the Vegas Golden Knights.


They did not change anything in the museum. I don't care what their logo is, anymore than I care what the city's logo is.


The new symbol is actually incorrect, but only because U.S. military history has long been incorrect in the selection of the symbol that is often used to represent medicine. The Rod of Asclepius is the symbol that should be used to represent medicine in logos. The caduceus, which is used in this new logo for the museum, actually is the staff that is carried by Hermes in Greek mythology which has nothing to do with medicine. My CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield insurance card uses the correct symbolization.


You are correct dcmetro. It seems unfortunate the designer got this incorrect. The museum did a good job with the outreach and PR aspects of this project.


Interesting, since the article wrote "The caduceus is a long-standing military medical symbol, and is often confused with the Rod of Asclepius, which was used in the original museum logo." but did not explain the differences.


Why did they choose the configuration of the stars that they did on the union flag? The configuration is credited to Kansas. Why not use a more generic version?


The Union flag actually changed several times during the Civil War as states were added. They had to choose one design. And did you mean the design was changed to include adding a star when Kansas became a state instead of crediting Kansas with the configuration?


Using the caduceus appears correct as it is worn by Army medical personnel on their uniform. Physicians have a plain caduceus, nurses have an “N” over it, dentists have a “D” over it, etc. I do not know about the other services.


read dcmetro's earlier comments. It is correct only because it has been incorrect since sometime in the 1850s when a mistake changed the symbol from a Rod of Asclepius to a caduceus.

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