Fact Check

Destroyed ArtiFacts

Fake news reports that Confederate artifacts from the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were destroyed after the museum closed down.

Published Jul 21, 2015

FACT CHECK:   Were Confederate artifacts from the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, destroyed after the museum closed?

Claim:   Confederate artifacts from the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were destroyed after the museum closed.


Example:     [Collected via Twitter, July 2015]

Origins:    On 20 July 2015, an article reporting that the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, had been closed down and all of its Confederate artifacts destroyed, was widely circulated via social media:

On the heels of the Confederate flag controversy, the City Council of Harrisburg voted to permanently close the doors of the Civil War Museum last week.

This decision resulted in hiring a small workforce tasked with packing the delicate artifacts that have been held inside its walls for decades. The new temporary hires, however, were infiltrated by a group of activists disguised as workers, who took it upon themselves to destroy what they called "shrines to racism, bigotry, and hate." Without authorization, nor the real work crew's knowledge, they collected various Confederate artifacts and burned them behind the building, out of sight of the museum staff.

Some of the destroyed historical artifacts were original confederate uniforms, rifles, equipment, flags, and swords. After the anti-Confederate activists burned all of the items they were able to carry outside quickly, they walked away, abandoning the site and leaving a smoldering pile of ashes with the remains of swords, muskets, and metal buttons for horrified museum staff to discover.

Many readers mistook this item for a genuine news article, but it was just another spoof from a clickbait fake news site known for spreading malware.

On 21 July 2015, the National Civil War Museum took to Facebook to reassure worried patrons that they were still open for business:

It has come to our attention that someone has placed a story on the internet which purports that this museum is closed and that Confederate items and/or artifacts have been destroyed here. Rest assured everyone, the story is completely false. All is well here and our historical items are safe and sound.

Last updated:      21 July 2015

Originally published:    21 July 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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