The Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum

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226 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME, USA

The Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum Brunswick Reviews

vances vances
582 reviews
General attendance Sep 29, 2017
Visiting Chamberlain’s home was the driving force for today’s bonanza. I always felt a bit ashamed to never have taken in this site despite living in Joshua’s home town, though in my defense there were a pair of unsuccessful attempts (failed due to different, unanticipated reasons). Today the oversight would be corrected.

In case you are unfamiliar, Joshua Chamberlain is a Maine legacy. There were a multitude of noteworthy accomplishments during his life, but Chamberlain is primarily recognized for his regiment’s brave defense of Little Round Top in the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. This feat was catapulted to fame in recent years by Michael Shaara’s book “The Killer Angels” and in Ken Burn’s acclaimed PBS documentary, the “Civil War” series. Joshua received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his Gettysburg heroism, but his wartime exploits extended well beyond. Critically wounded in the second battle of Petersburg and with everyone believing Joshua to be on his deathbed, he was promoted to rank of brigadier general. Chamberlain pulled through and even returned to battle, ultimately being selected by General Grant to receive surrender of Confederate infantrymen at Appomattox Court House to conclude the Civil War.

Chamberlain additionally served as governor of Maine and president of Bowdoin College in Brunswick: his stature extended well beyond the battlefield. The museum has been in existence well before Joshua’s recent rebound in popularity and is an engaging destination. Sponsored by the Pejepscot Historical Society, tours begin hourly and last about that long. Our ramble was hosted by a docent with deep knowledge on his subject matter. He expertly fielded the many questions hurled his way and while his passion was evident, did not glorify Chamberlain. Among the shared insights was how Joshua insisted on being called “General”, rather than “President” (of Bowdoin College) or “Governor”. Even his grandchildren were trained to call him “General”, rather than one of those goofy nicknames for a grandfather (mine was Pappy).

The house itself is quite interesting. A second story was added to improve the abode as Chamberlain gained acclaim, but rather than topping things off they elevated the original level upstairs and built beneath. The primary motivation seemed to be Joshua’s insistence upon a grander front entrance!

An example of how engaging our guide was when he asked if anyone could hazard why here was a doorknob in the wall over a vent on the first floor. Chamberlain’s war injuries caused him great suffering throughout his remaining years and bending over was excruciating. The door knob was a custom enhancement, permitting the General to open or close the vent without having to kneel.

This is a quality tour which offers great interest and education while keeping it human.
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12 / 12 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
walterman9999 says:
Congrats Vance on this featured review, well done!
Posted on: Jan 17, 2018
Vance, congrats on your featured review.
Posted on: Jan 16, 2018
vances says:
I forgive you Planxty. Not so sure about the General, however...

Posted on: Jan 16, 2018
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photo by: vances