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.