The Film & Cyclorama
First watch the Gettysburg film A New Birth of Freedom then witness the drama of the Gettysburg Cyclorama exclusively at the Museum and Visitor Center. Tickets for the film and Cyclorama also include admission to the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. See Ticket Prices & Packages for show times, reservations, ticket purchase methods, costs and discounts.
A New Birth of Freedom
In the Gettysburg Address, given just a few short months after the epic Battle of Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln called for “a new birth of freedom.” Gettysburg reminds us that "freedom, like power, will always be contested."
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, and featuring the voices of Sam Waterston and Marcia Gay Harden, the film A New Birth of Freedom places the monumental events of the Battle of Gettysburg into the larger context of the Civil War and American history.
Sponsored by The History Channel, A New Birth of Freedom is shown in the main film theaters exclusively at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and sets the stage for the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting program.
The Gettysburg Cyclorama Painting
In the late 1880s, French artist Paul Philippoteaux took brush to canvas and created the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama painting. He spent months on the battlefield researching the battle with veterans, a battlefield guide and a photographer. It took Philippoteaux and a team of assistants more than a year to complete the painting. The result is a breathtaking canvas that measures 377 feet in circumference and 42 feet high. Longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story structure, the Gettysburg Cyclorama oil painting immerses visitors in the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Today the Gettysburg Cyclorama is displayed the way Paul Philippoteaux originally intended with an overhead canopy and a three-dimensional diorama foreground that realistically features stone walls, broken fences, shattered trees and a cannon.
Gettysburg Cyclorama History
Four versions of the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting existed at one time in the United States. The Boston version on exhibit at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center was first exhibited in that city in 1884. The Gettysburg Cyclorama remained in private hands until the National Park Service acquired it in the 1940s.
Over the years, the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting survived fire, leaks, tears, rotting and temperature and humidity fluctuations. To accommodate exhibit spaces over time, the Cyclorama had been sliced into panels and approximately 15 feet of sky had been removed. These combined forces took a toll on the painting, creating seams and bends and causing chips in the paint. By the late 1990s, experts warned that unless the Cyclorama was repaired, this historic object could be lost forever.
Gettysburg Cyclorama Conservation
Repairing the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting required painstaking work by art conservationists under the direction of David Olin, owner of Olin Conservation in Great Falls, Va. Experts repaired unstable sections of the canvas and restored details lost during previous conservation attempts. The conservation of the Gettysburg Cyclorama was the largest effort of its kind to date in North America.