Special Report

Civil War Artifacts in the Smithsonian

The museum collections house many items from the Civil War, including photographs, uniforms and personal diaries

Lincoln's Top Hat (National Museum of American History)

Lowe’s Barometer, Udvar-Hazy Center, National Air and Space Museum

Thaddeus SC Lowe barometer
(Udvar-Hazy Center, National Air and Space Museum)

A barometer and case used by aeronaut Thaddeus S.C. Lowe during the Civil War is on display at the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. “Barometers and thermometers tended to be very tall,” explains senior curator Tom Crouch. Back then, these instruments “used mercury and [had] to have enough mercury to accurately measure the pressure.” Udvar-Hazy also boasts a pair of Lowe’s binoculars and a wooden valve assembly from The Great Western balloon, constructed by Lowe in 1859.

by Jamie Simon


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