Here is our recap of 2023:
2023 would be our fourth year together, and our first full year as a 501c3 non-profit organization. This year was also the 125th Anniversary of the Spanish-American War, so we assembled a very ambitious schedule to commemorate as many of the historical events that the National Guard of Pennsylvania participated in back in 1898.
We hit the ground running in January, jumping right into unit research and events. We learned about Amazon Smile, which seemed like a pretty good fundraising initiative for non-profit organizations, but as soon as we registered for it, we learned that it was being decommissioned by the company.
One of our members paid a visit to the Cumberland County Historical Society for a research trip where they found some really great Gobin Guards images and documents! The Cumberland County Historical Society is just a short walk away from one of the old 8th Regiment, Company G armories.
We also had a contingent set up a display at the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum in Media, Pennsylvania. This museum is housed in the old 6th Regiment, Company H Armory, which would later be used by Company H of the 111th Infantry Regiment before it was surplused by the Pennsylvania National Guard.
February found us working on upgrades to our equipment. Thanks to our friend Tom Frost and his excellent graphic design skills, we were able to perfectly match the NGP marking on one of our NGP artifact so that we could have a rubber stamp fabricated to mark our reproduction equipment. We had originally used stencils and paint to mark our gear, but things just didn't look right. As with anything in living history, there is always something new to learn, and new research will always drive upgrades and changes.
Our social media footprint really grew over the course of 2023, and we received a 5-star rating due to reviews left by our friends and followers.
February found us filming a few episodes of our "Artifact of the Month" series, and we kicked off the 2023 Preservation and Education Campaign - more on this later!
In March we partnered with Penn State Harrisburg in Middletown, Pennsylvania for an artifact loan for the 125th Anniversary of the Spanish-American War. Their campus was built right on top of where Camp Meade was located in 1898, and it would be home to multiple NGP regiments at different times during the war.
We finally got our reproduction cup project wrapped up this year which turned out to be just in time for our 125th events. This had been a roughly four-year process with two unsuccessful attempts with other vendors. We finally connected with a really great tinsmith that could make an accurate, well-made reproduction of the cup that Pennsylvania contracted, and deliver it in the quantity that we needed and by the time that we needed it. We look forward to working with them again for another run in the future!
We kicked off our 2023 season with a WW1 program at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. While we were there, we educated visitors about the 112th Infantry Regiment's actions at Fismes and Fismette, as well as conducting a "Stories Behind the Stone" presentation at the 28th Division Memorial.
At the end of April, we were in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to visit our friends at the Capitol Preservation Committee and to view the colors of the NGP units that we were going to portray during our 125th Anniversary events. The timing of our visit was planned out to coincide with the time frame of the arrival of the National Guard units at Camp Hastings in Mt, Gretna, Pennsylvania in 1898. Following our visit, we stopped for a lunch at McGrath's Pub, and then toured the military history around the Harrisburg area. What a great way to lean into the 125th Anniversary series!
On to Mt. Gretna! Just like the newspaper headline from April 1898, we made our way to Soldiers Field in Mt. Gretna to observe the 125th Anniversary of the NGP mustering into state and United States service for the war with Spain. Our living history program was conducted in early May, roughly around when all of the examinations and swearing in ceremonies were conducted for the National Guard of Pennsylvania.
Also, in May we sponsored a book that was published by the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society on the National Guard's time in Gretna titled "Brave Boys."
An increase in membership called for another run of the NGP McKeever Cartridge Boxes and other leather gear. Thanks again to What Price Glory for taking care of us yet again! We were also fortunate to receive a reproduction of the 10th Regiment's colors for use at future events.
Over Armed Forces Day Weekend, we visited Boalsburg, Pennsylvania again for the 28th Infantry Division's annual memorial program which was quite a sight to see. If you haven't experienced this yet, we strongly recommend that you make the pilgrimage at least once to check things out.
We wrapped up May with some of our members participating in the Kennett Square Memorial Day Parade.
The June Spanish-American War event at Fort Mott State Park went off without a hitch despite Mother Nature's attempts to see to it otherwise. This annual event has been hosted by one of our members for a number of years, with participants coming as far away as Puerto Rico!
The NGP returned to Fort Mott in July for the 125th Anniversary of the 14th Regiment's time in Pennsville, New Jersey. We also had a small event at the Dill's Tavern site in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania to close out July. We wrapped up the month with a research trip to the new Adams County Historical Society at Gettysburg.
We returned to the Delaware River in August for the 125th Anniversary of the garrison of Fort Delaware by the 14th Regiment. This is a very unique event because the fort sits right out in the middle of the Delaware River, and you can only access the site by boat. A neat feature of this fort is the graffiti left behind by members of the 14th Regiment during their time on the island in 1898.
September saw the final event of our 125th Anniversary series. We returned to Boalsburg, Pennsylvania to tell the story of the 10th Pennsylvania in the Philippines at the Pennsylvania Military Museum.
We also prepared another round of artifacts for a long-term loan to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in support of the Capitol Preservation Committee's newly remodeled education center.
The NGP History Project was honored to participate in the grand opening ceremony of the Capitol Preservation Committee's newly remodeled education center. We supplied two cases full of NGP artifacts, as well as providing multiple write ups for the electronic displays. What a great way to kick off October!
Also in October, we had representation in two different time periods at the West Town Community Days event, and we received the first components that we needed to reproduce the Pennsylvania specification Hagner Cartridge Boxes for our 1880s events. Thanks again go out to What Price Glory for entertaining our special projects and helping us achieve our goals!
November proved to be just as busy as spring and summer for the NGP. We had members participating in the Veterans Day Parade and display at the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum in Media, Pennsylvania, and we even made it over to Valley Forge National Historical Park to support the National Park Service's Veterans Day timeline event.
We finished strong in December, closing out a great season with the Coatesville Christmas Parade and Christmas at the Front at the PA Military Museum in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.
We started 2023 with 9 full members and 3 probationary members for a total of 12 members.
We ended 2023 with 12 full members and 1 probationary member for a total of 13 members.
We raised $285.00 through our 2023 Preservation and Education Campaign (gofundme).
The grand total for the treasury (not including gofundme) was $534.36.
Our PayPal account had $180.57 at year's end.
Our bank account had $228.79 at year's end.
We also had $125.00 cash on hand at year's end.
We are awarding $500.00 to the Capitol Preservation Committee for the conservation and preservation of Pennsylvania's military flag collection.
We will roll $319.36 over into our 2024 treasury.