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Gettysburg Cyclorama

Site 

Exterior of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center

 

Before feature films. Before IMAX. Before virtual reality. There was the cyclorama.

The must-see entertainment of the 1880s, cycloramas were the blockbuster movies of their time. Often depicting epic battles or historical places, the enormous, paintings-in-the-round transported viewers into the middle of the fray; surrounding them with a 360° hand-painted canvas longer than a football field and higher than a four-story building.

Created by French artist Paul Philippoteaux in 1884, The Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama depicts the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the decisive third day of fighting. Reviews of the time called it “marvelous,” “remarkable” and “must be seen.”

The painting survived years of exhibition, multiple moves, vandalism, fire, cuts and neglect before finding a home in Gettysburg in 1913. Purchased by the National Park Service in 1942, the painting underwent multiple restoration efforts–including a multimillion-dollar restoration from 2004-08–and now hangs as the centerpiece of the cyclorama building at the Museum & Visitor Center.

With its landscaped foreground and dramatic sound and lighting effects, the Battle of Gettysburg still creates the three-dimensional illusion of being in the midst of the battle. It is an immersive experience today’s visitors call “moving,” “riveting” and “breathtaking.”

And nearly 140 years later, it still “must be seen.”

 
Significance 

Why visit the Cyclorama? 

Today, audiences are as awe-struck by the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama as they were in the 1880s. You will be too.

  • Historic Treasure: Appreciate the art. The Battle of Gettysburg painting is the largest oil-on-canvas painting in North America and is among the last cyclorama paintings in existence.
  • Accurate Depiction: Marvel at the detail. Through interviews with veterans and by documenting the landscape with a photographer, Philippoteaux spent months researching the battle. Although a few historical errors still appear in the artwork, the painting generally provides a “well documented visual history” of the battle.
  • Shared History: Feel the impact of the cyclorama and consider the significance it had on the Gettysburg veterans who viewed this same painting during the 50th Anniversary of the Battle in 1913.
  • One ticket, three experiences:  Stand in the middle of the battle. The Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama is included as part of your Film, Cyclorama & Museum Experience–your start to a moving and memorable Gettysburg visit.
     
 

Story

Majestic painting of Pickett's Charge.

Immersive experience.

What will you find?

At A Glance

One ticket. Three experiences: Film, Cyclorama & Museum
Allow 2 hours
Adult: $15
Senior 65+: $14
Veteran: $14
Youth 6-12: $10
Child 5-Under: Free
Active Military: Free
Wheelchair accessible
Sudden, loud sounds of battle
Starts and Ends at the Museum & Visitor Center (MAP)
Free parking at Museum & Visitor Center lots

Important Information:

Timed tickets are issued for all show times of the Film, Cyclorama & Museum Experience:

NovemberMarch: Film/Cyclorama showings every 30 minutes beginning at 9:30 a.m. The final Film/Cyclorama show is 4 p.m.

April October: Film/Cyclorama showings every 15 minutes beginning at 8:15 a.m. The final Film/Cyclorama show is 5:15 p.m.

The National Park Service partners with the Gettysburg Foundation to enhance the preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg through public outreach and private financial support.

National Park Service website

Exhibits & Tours

Film, Cyclorama & Museum Experience

Set the scene.
Feel the fury.
Share the journey.

The Film, Cyclorama & Museum Experience provides you with a backdrop to the battle and prepares you for a more meaningful tour of the battlefield. 

Battlefield Value Package

Film Cyclorama & Museum + Battlefield Bus Tour

Make the most of your Gettysburg visit. Package the Film, Cyclorama and Museum with a battlefield bus tour for one memorable Gettysburg experience.

Tour the Battlefield

Bus. Car. Bike.

Step onto the hallowed ground and experience Little Round Top, Devil's Den and the Angle beyond the history books and movies. You'll tour the battlefield with a Licensed Battlefield Guide either in your car, by motor coach or bicycle.

Battlefield Car Tour

Personalized Experience

Ride along with your Licensed Battlefield Guide and don’t miss a thing. Your guide will drive your car, answer your questions and conduct your own, personal tour of the battlefield.

Plan Your Visit to Gettysburg.

Whether you are visiting for the first time, or you return year-after-year, we can help you plan your visit.