The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, a quirky and fascinating repository of battlefield medical artifacts including skull saws and rusty scalpels, is amputating the Confederate flag from its logo.
Naturally, the internet has opinions.
“Leave it alone,” someone wrote on Twitter. “It is a shame you are so weak you cannot stand up for what you KNOW is right.”
On Reddit, a commenter wrote, “Wow, so a museum dedicated to preserving a part of history that is the civil war, is too scared to educate people about the entirety of the civil war because they’re afraid of offending some people that don’t even like this country.”
Not exactly, say officials with the Frederick, Md., museum.
Though the move comes amid a wave of controversy over the Confederate flag and monuments to Southern war figures, David Price, the museum’s executive director, said dropping both flags — Union and Confederate — had nothing to do with politics.
Rather, the decision was part of a year-long effort to rebrand the museum after some recent expansions.
“It’s a little too complicated for social media,” Price said in an interview. “But this is not about erasing history.”
With grant money, Price hired Invictus, a Pennsylvania marketing firm, to come up with a new logo. The company began with an online survey. Jeff Beck, the firm’s owner, knew the Confederate flag would be “the elephant in the room,” so he and Price decided to tackle the issue head-on.
The survey asked whether the Union and Confederate flags should be in the logo. The responses, both in the survey and about the survey, were heated.
Steve Berryman, who runs the Confederate Monuments Protection Society, a local Facebook group, told the Frederick News-Post that the museum was embarking on a “gutless move” that “shouldn’t be a public decision.”
Still, the museum pushed ahead, dropping both flags. The new logo, to be revealed Jan. 15, is composed of a shield, the Caduceus medical symbol and three stars to represent the museum’s three locations. The colors are blue, gray and red, a nod to both sides in the war.