Nerd Nite DC is DC’s original science + nerd + drinking event. See us nerd out!

Nerd Nite DC and Atlas Obscura have paired up to host Civil War Shenanigans

We’re ringing in the new year with our old friends at Atlas Obscura and inviting all of you to be part of the fun. Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. We believe there is something new to discover, every day, all over the world—and around the corner.

And tonight, we will explore what’s wondrous and curious about the Civil War.  So what are we poking into, you ask?  Well, how about the fortress in the forest located right here in DC, how legs were amputated on the battlefield and what missed connections were like in the early 19th century.

Matt Blitz will be the MC for the evening. He heads up Atlas Obscura Society DC. He’s also a contributing writer for Washingtonian, Popular Mechanics, Arlington Magazine and Food & Wine. When he’s not planning cemetery adventures, researching the history of the microwave or exploring Area 51, he’s being bossed around by his cat.

Oh yeah! Awesome Con is also coming and they told me they were bringing the goodies for the trivia sessions. It’s going to be a great evening!

Date: Saturday Jan 14th, 2017 A.D.
Time: Doors 6:00PM, Show 6:30PM
Where: DC9, 1940 9th St NW
Tickets: $10 at
This is a 21+ event.

Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 9.06.29 AMFrom Live Snakes to Missing Men: Inside the 19th Century Dead Letter Office” by Ashley Bowen-Murphy
When letters went wrong, the Dead Letter Office made them right. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, this little known department of the Post Office processed hundreds of thousands of undelivered letters and packages annually. In these dead letters are moving, fantastic, and unbelievable stories about everything from live snakes and the hair of a presidential assassin to the personal tragedies wrapped up as missed connections. In this talk, Bowen-Murphy will explain the Dead Letter Office’s history and share both funny and sad stories about the items lost in transit.

Bio: Ashley Bowen-Murphy received a PhD in American Studies from Brown University last month! Her research interests include the history and material culture of medicine, patient experience, and Civil War veterans. When she’s not poking around in archives or organizing events as an Atlas Obscura field agent, you can find her volunteering at the National Postal Museum or reading mystery novels and blogging about them for Book Riot.

Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 9.08.17 AMGet Down You Fool: The Surprising Civil War History of Washington D.C., including the OTHER time they shot at Abe Lincoln By David Plotz
Take a map of D.C. Draw a circle a few miles from the capitol and you’ll start to see something weird. Fort Reno. Fort Totten. Fort Dupont. Fort Mahan. Fort Stevens. Military Road. Battery Kemble. These are the ghostly signs of Civil War Washington, when the city was a garrison. We’ll explore the almost forgotten history of D.C. at war, including the tale of the crazy Confederate invasion of 1864 that almost killed Lincoln and defeated the Union. Plus, how to find some of the city’s best, often-secret Civil War sites, including the fort in the forest.

Bio: David Plotz is the CEO of Atlas Obscura, host of the Slate Political Gabfest, and a lifelong Washingtonian. Also, he wrote a book about the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank, which was a real thing.

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Cut-it Off!: A Civil War Amputation By Amelia Grabowski & Jake Wynn

A rusty saw. A swig of whiskey. A nice bullet to bite on. That’s all you need for a Civil War amputation, right? Not quite. Jake Wynn and Amelia Grabowski will demonstrate (yes that’s right DEMONSTRATE) the sometimes fascinating, but mostly disturbing world of the Civil War operating room where truth is often stranger than fiction.
Bios: Amelia Grabowski is the Education and Digital Outreach Specialist at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum here in DC, and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD. She once organized a public program where everyone became a registered 19th-century prostitute. Jake Wynn is the Program Coordinator at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office. He is a 2015 graduate of Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. When he’s not amputating gelatin legs, you can find him writing at Wynning History Blog.


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