This GivingTuesday, the Gettysburg Foundation will look to add new life to a historic family favorite.
The Foundation will target the Rupp House History Center for its annual GivingTuesday fundraising campaign. Funds will go to renovate the galleries and exhibits in an effort to make them more interactive and more family friendly, guiding even more young visitors along the Gettysburg journey.
“As stewards of this historic location, we know an understanding of the Civil War and what happened here in Gettysburg is essential to appreciating where we are as a nation, where we’ve been, and where we still need to go,” said Elle Lamboy, Vice President of Philanthropy. “By renovating the Rupp House galleries, we’re giving young learners the key to a house that will tell the story in a way that makes sense. By meeting them where they are, we hope to ignite a spark of historic curiosity that could burn for a lifetime.”
Located at 451 Baltimore Street, the Rupp House was the 1863 family home of John and Caroline Rupp and their six children. The family was forced to flee the home when the Battle of Gettysburg began, but John stayed behind, where he took refuge in the cellar while the chaos of the battle raged outside his front door.
Since the Foundation purchased the building in 2002, the house has served as a free-to-visit, interactive, hands-on learning attraction that tells the story of the Rupp family and introduces visitors to the civilian experience during the three days of the battle. With its family-friendly setting, the Rupp House welcomed more than 20,000 guests in 2019.
But with those thousands of young hands interacting and loving the exhibits over the years, the displays and exhibits are in vital need of updating in order to continue telling the engaging stories of Gettysburg to the next generation of preservationists.
Early plans for the renovation include six galleries for families to explore:
- The Children of Gettysburg
Visitors are introduced to a diverse group of real Gettysburg children and are acclimated to the museum.
- The Children Growing Up in Gettysburg
The children’s diaries, letters and stories tell us what it was like to grow up in Gettysburg…and show us how that changed their lives forever in July 1863.
- The Soldiers Are Coming
As two massive armies converged on a small Pennsylvania town, news merged with rumor as our children began to imagine what this might mean for them. Excitement overlapped with fear as families imagined what their fate might be and began to plan for survival in uncertainty.
- Stay or Go?
A family’s instinct to protect themselves and their homes is universal, but few Americans have been tested like the citizens of Gettysburg. Should they flee to protect themselves? Where would be safe? Should they stay to protect their homes? For many families, the children were sent off to safety, beginning a harrowing adventure requiring courage and resilience.
- Return and Recovery
After three days of battle, destruction and death, the town and the children of Gettysburg were forever changed. For these storytellers, the childhood they knew had ended as they found themselves caring for the wounded and providing for the thousands of people who came to grieve, heal and witness.
- Discovering Meaning
Later that year, many of these children heard their President speak brief words at the new National Cemetery—words known the world over as the guide out of tragedy into lasting peace. Each of the children we followed through this story sought their own meaning in the experience of three days of battle and its aftermath; their words inspire us to continue to search for meaning as we work as a country to honor the past by securing peace in the future.
The #RenovateRupp campaign kicks off on GivingTuesday, December 3, with a $10,000 goal to kickstart the project. Fundraising efforts will continue throughout the year with hopes of unveiling the newly renovated Rupp House in Spring 2021.
To be part of the Rupp House story, visit GettysburgFoundation.org.