For the first time in nearly 140 years, the office of Clara Barton was opened to the public for viewing. Located at 437 7th Street in Washington D.C. the Missing Soldiers Office was closed in 1875. But in 1997, as the building was being prepared for demolition, her office was rediscovered. The office and Clara’s living quarters took up the third floor of the building.
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, along with Destination DC and the U.S. General Services Administration hosted the special sneak peak, allowing over 200 visitors to step into the past. Some said that when they entered the office, a strange feeling came over them, as though they were entering a time capsule, and a sacred place.
It has taken the GSA thirteen years to find a partner to assist in the restoration of the building. The original wallpaper, banister, and many artifacts remain, still intact. Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, established the Missing Soldiers Office in order to locate those soldiers who were lost during Civil War battles. The museum will be open to the public in 2011 or 2012. For more information, call 301-695-1864.