National Civil War Museum
The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the largest museum of its kind in the world. As a museum dedicated to portraying one of the greatest American Tragedies, from beginning to end, the Museum takes the lessons of a textbook and brings them to life. Portrayals of battles and leaders are impartial, factual and without prejudice or undo consideration to either side. In many cases, the images presented at The National Civil War Museum are the actual written and spoken words of the men and women, who lived, laughed, cried and died during the American Civil War. It is a war story of brother against brother, of father against son, but always Americans against Americans.
The National Civil War Museum, housed within a 65,000 square foot facility in the capital city of Harrisburg PA, presents artifacts and stories from one of the most hallowed times in the history of The United States: The American Civil War.
This traumatic and momentous time in American history often referred to by many authorities as the period when America defined itself as a nation, is carefully and respectfully displayed at the museum. Opened in 2001, the museum is dedicated to education and public service. Visitors discover and learn insights not only on the four war years between 1861 and 1865 but also on the years form 1850 leading up to the shots fired on Fort Sumpter and the post war years to 1876 and the effect the Civil War had on westward expansion. Currently the museum has 28 galleries on tow floors that provide both knowledge and first hand experiences of a war that was fought over issues including slavery and states rights.
Portraying the pre-war period, the museum offers artifacts and first hand accounts that illustrate sectional controversies and slavery. The war period captures the military as well as the civilian side of the conflict with examples of personal equipment, artillery, and prisoner of war experiences. In addition the Museum addresses medical treatment methods during the civil war era, including surgery methods, treatment of battle wounds, and disease. In the post-war galleries the museum explains the impact of the civil war on westward expansion.
The gallery tour begins on the second floor, which features ten galleries that portray the various reasons why and how the civil war was fought and include among the presentations: “A House Divided,” “The Peculiar Institution,” “First Shots;” “Call to Arms;” and Making of Armies.”
The Tour ends on the first floor with galleries that present treatments of Gettysburg, the 1864 Campaign, the cost of the war, and includes a 14-foot battle map of the 1863-1865 campaigns.
The National Civil War Museum has over 3,500 artifacts and more than 17,000ducumnets in its overall collection. Currently the museum has on display approximately 800. In addition The Museum features a temporary exhibit gallery, which enables it to explore specific areas of the war in a more in depth fashion. Passed exhibits have featured themes such as children during the war, Women’s roles, and flags.