Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A diary kept by a Civil War nurse is the focus of a new display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

On Friday, the museum will begin telling the story of nurse Amanda Akin. In 1863, Akin traveled from her home in Quaker Hill, N.Y., to work in a military hospital built on the National Mall.

Nursing was not yet established as a profession, so few had special training. Akin gave out medicines and managed diets for patients. She also wrote about visiting the nearby Smithsonian to recharge.

Akin left behind a history of 15 months as a nurse through her personal letters and journal. Curators say the writings offer a glimpse at daily life during the war.

The documents are on view through July.