The bookstore at Gettysburg’s new Visitor Center

For those of us who consider a walk into Gettysburg’s present Visitor Center bookstore something of a regular pilgrimage, recent talk about what the new bookstore in the new Center will be like has been interesting.  We’ve long heard rumors that the new bookstore will hold only a few standard Gettysburg titles.  And that the emphasis will be not on books, but on the tourist crap you find at many other stores around town – plastic swords, vinyl kepis and such.

Last week I received my issue of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg newsletter, and therein was an article regarding what the new bookstore is supposed to feature.  Here’s the article, written by Michael Vykoscil:

The bookstore at Gettysburg National Military Park has always had the reputation of being a “destination” bookstore – meaning people will make a special trip to the store to purchase books on Gettysburg and the Civil War.

That reputation will remain intact when the Museum Bookstore opens in April in the Museum and Visitor Center

Work continues over the next few months to prepare the bookstore for opening.  Display racks and bookcases will be installed, merchandise will be arriving and the shelves will be stocked with books, videos, souvenirs, apparel and other items not featured in the current bookstore in the Park Service facility on Taneytown Road.  The Museum Bookstore will be located on the main level of the Museum and Visitor Center and to the right of the main Visitor entrance.

One feature that will set the Museum Bookstore apart from the current bookstore is that it will carry a range of unique merchandise – items you won’t be able to find anywhere else.  So, whether you’re looking for a children’s non-fiction book on the Underground Railroad or a book containing the great speeches of Abraham Lincoln, the Museum Bookstore will be the place to come either before or after your museum and battlefield visit.

Friends of Gettysburg members will receive a 10 percent discount on their purchases each time they visit.

Event Network, Inc. was chosen by the Gettysburg Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, to provide retail services for the Museum Bookstore.  The San Diego, Calif.-based organization is the leading operator of gift shops for museums, zoos, aquariums, science centers, botanical gardens and other cultural attractions throughout North America.

Well, the only dispute I would have is that for non-fiction books on the UR, or of Lincoln’s speeches, I can point you to at least a dozen locations in and around town where you can find those.  But as for the rest of the information, let’s hope it indeed pans out that this bookstore will be comprehensive.  After hearing rumors that the books selection will be very limited to claims that it will have “everything,” I guess I’ll believe it when I see it for myself.  I’m glad that Friends members will receive a discount… the main competition for this bookstore, the one at the Farnsworth House, has long offered such a discount.  So have many others.

The new Museum and VC will open on April 16 of this year, and I will be visiting shortly thereafter.

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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