of the American Civil War
Learn About Gettysburg in the Context of a Divided Nation at War
The Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War offers visitors a 21st-century museum experience that tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg and its significance to our nation’s history, within the context of the American Civil War. The museum’s collection of artifacts and archival items provide visitors perspectives from President Abraham Lincoln, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Generals George Gordon Meade and Robert E. Lee, soldiers, war correspondents and civilians. The museum’s newest special exhibit, Treasures of the Civil War, opens in the Gilder Lehrman Institute Special Exhibits Gallery June 16.
Highlights of the Museum Exhibits
Throughout the museum, visitors will find interactive and visual stations. Five of the galleries include short video presentations on the causes of the Civil War, the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg and the results of war, and two “Voices” theaters feature readings from battle participants. Of the 12 galleries, 11 are based on phrases from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and organized around the museum’s major themes, including the Gettysburg Campaign, and the causes and consequences of the American Civil War.
150 New Artifacts Installed
More than 150 artifacts, ranging from signal flags to feedbags, were rotated into the exhibits at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center in September 2012 after undergoing conservation at the National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center. The Gettysburg Foundation funded the project, which allows the National Park Service to remove and “rest” sensitive artifacts that have been on display since the museum opened in 2008.
What does conservation entail? The pocket diary of New York civilian John Righter, who wrote of hearing of Abraham Lincoln's assassination in an entry dated April 1865, gives us a glimpse into the thoughts of the average northern civilian with regard to this tragic event. When donated to the park, the diary had a partially detached spine, torn pages and accumulated surface dirt – all common of recently found books from this time period. In order to prepare the object for exhibit, the conservators rehabilitated the diary by reattaching the binding, mending page tears with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste, and cleaning and reinforcing the covers to prevent further damage.
It is recommended that you allow at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to explore the exhibits inside the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. Maps of the museum exhibit galleries are available online here and at the ticket counter and the Information Desk in the lobby of the Museum and Visitor Center. Admission to the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War is included with the Cyclorama, Film and Museum Experience. Museum-only tickets are available can be purchased online at our Gettysburg Tickets page, by calling 877-874-2478 and at the ticket counter in the lobby of the Museum and Visitor Center.
Special Museum Exhibits
Treasures of the Civil War: Legendary Leaders Who Shaped a War and a Nation opens June 16 in the Gilder Lehrman Institute Special Exhibits Gallery and features nearly one hundred artifacts, from outstanding Civil War collections throughout the United States, being exhibited at Gettysburg for the first time. Admission to this special exhibit is included with the purchase of Cyclorama, Film and Museum Experience and museum-only tickets.