Erik L. Dorr, owner of The Gettysburg Museum of History, has thousands of artifacts on display. He has stories about how he has acquired many of the unique items and one of those stories will be aired on national television this evening.

Mike Wolfe and Frank Frantz, hosts of the History Channel’s “American Pickers,” visited Dorr in November to help him acquire some Civil War relics.

“I gave them a list of items I was looking for and they went out and found the items and they came back and presented them to me,” Dorr said.

The pair came back to the Baltimore Street museum with a Confederate-manufactured Dog River Cavalry Saber, Civil War Union officer’s frock coat, Union Cavalary Hardee Hat, a Spencer carbine, model 1842 Springfield musket and “other small artifacts.”

“I really don’t know where exactly everything came from,” said Dorr, who will see the show for the first time with the rest of American tonight at 9 p.m.

Dorr was thrilled with the pickers’ finds, and was able to add even more value to one of the items after Wolfe and Frantz wrapped up their two days of shooting.

The Union officer’s frock coat had two initials, a last name and lieutenant’s stripes on it. It also had the letters MVI, which stands for Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

“I was able to go through a Civil War database and narrow it down,” Dorr said.

The coat once belonged to William B. Harding of Company K 48th Massachusetts.

“That makes the coat a lot more interesting than just a random coat,” Dorr said.

While in Gettysburg, Wolfe and Frantz also went relic hunting on privately-owned land and turned their findings over to Dorr. Producers have told Dorr that part of the visit will not air on tonight’s episode of “American Pickers.”

Dorr said that working with the “American Pickers” crew was a great experience because Wolfe and Frantz are genuinely interested in picking.

“They were really easier to work with. Both Mike and Frank are great guys,” he said. “They really are antique collectors, they aren’t like actors, they are real people.”

The Gettysburg Museum of History has thousands of Civil War items, but Dorr is proud to have items from all areas of American history. John F. Kennedy’s cigar box, the flag that flew over the Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7 1941, German WW1 temporary grave marker made from an ammo box lid are just a very small sampling of what visitors can expect to see when they visit Dorr’s museum at 219 Baltimore Street.

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(6) comments


To be honest I have stopped watching the show "American Pickers", when they bought a grave marker. Nobody should benefit in any way from the loss of life and it was done. They lost my household after that show.


I have watched American Pickers show on T.V. and it is amazing the items that they are able to find. Erik Dorr's Museum sounds like it would be fun and interesting to visit. Good article about Civil War memorabilia.----irish1


MountainGirly, many grave markers hit the market because the graves are paved over and the monuments and markers cast aside. They can never be re-associated. At least they are being preserved. The risk, of course, is the possibility of encouraging grave desecration, but there is usually a dark side to any endeavor.


RDLF has a valid point. If the "pickers" hadn't bought the grave marker, it would sit in the dank, cobwebbed corners of the current owner's barn never to see the light of day. At least they brought it to the attention of the public.

The real culprit is whomever stole the marker for their own purposes of self-gain, possibly many years ago, and then hid away and forgotten.


Mountaingirty...that's precisely why I no longer view items for sale on e-Bay. It's disheartening to see so many personally owned items that once belonged to our Veterans being offered for sale.

I do believe many of these items were stolen by low-lifes motivated by greed, when the majority of artifacts should either be rescued by the heirs of their ancesters or safely tucked away in a museum for all to appreciate.


mountaingirl... That's ridiculous. Funeral homes benefit from death. Cemetaries benefit from death. Monument companies benefit from death. Heck, Gettysburg itself has benefitted from over 10,000 deaths in a 3 day period.

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