RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
This morning, we continue our series on unsung museums.
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MONTAGNE: Unsung museums are those little-known but ridiculously interesting gems you're glad you stumbled across. Gettysburg, Pa., has a bunch of Civil War museums, but none of them recreate the drama of the battlefield quite like the Civil War Tails diorama museum. It boasts an amazing collection of miniature models of important Civil War battles.
REBECCA BROWN: We have Pickett's Charge on the third day of Gettysburg. We have Fort Sumter, where the war began, the battle between the ironclads.
MONTAGNE: That's Rebecca Brown. She and her twin sister, Ruth, have painstakingly sculpted recreations of 15 historic battles and battlefields. The stars of the exhibits are the tiny clay soldiers - nearly 2,000 of them. They're less than an inch tall and meticulously detailed, right down to the patches on their blue and gray uniforms.
BROWN: For Confederate officers, we'll do the insignia. We have red piping on the uniforms of the 72nd Pennsylvania because that's what they looked like. Sometimes people look real close and go, is that a tail?
MONTAGNE: And it is a tail. That's because all the Union and Confederate soldiers are depicted as teeny-tiny cats.
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MONTAGNE: Turns out the Brown twins have a thing for cats.
BROWN: We've always had cats as pets. When we were young, we would pretend we would be Robin Hood and his guys, and we would be cats. And the sheriff of Nottingham and all of his guys would be dogs.
MONTAGNE: The other reason they created feline soldiers was because it's really hard to sculpt itsy-bitsy people.
BROWN: We did try making people. We've made, like, three. And it just didn't work, so they've always stayed cats.
MONTAGNE: Brown says visitors to their Civil War museum don't seem to mind that the preservation of the Union has been credited to cats.
BROWN: The whole purpose of our dioramas really is to tell the stories of the men. You don't have to know that you're looking at cats to really enjoy it. At the same time, if, you know, you're a cat person and you're coming in because they're cats, you still get an appreciation for the history they're reflecting.
MONTAGNE: That's Rebecca Brown of the Civil War Tails museum. That's tails spelled T-A-I-L-S. She spoke to us over Skype from Gettysburg, Pa.
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