Gettysburg visitors and residents will soon have a new virtual reality experience to visit when Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys opens on Friday, April 29, 2022, at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM, where U.S. history was made.
Gettysburg's Railroad Station, 1888. Adams County Historical Society photo.
Gettysburg’s first virtual reality experience, Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys, provides visitors with a history-based virtual reality experience, where they can journey back to 1863, featuring stories of some unlikely occupants of the railroad station in July 1863, as well as our 16th President’s arrival on Nov. 18, 1863, to the station for the dedication of the national cemetery.
“We look forward to introducing the region and visitors to the Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys virtual reality experience,” said Gettysburg Foundation President and CEO Wayne Motts. “The Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station is truly a historic treasure with unforgettable stories of perseverance, compassion and optimism through the actions of forward-thinking citizens, dedicated medical personnel and devoted soldiers who made the Gettysburg station a focal point in history,” added Motts.
Designed for guests over age 6, the new virtual reality experience takes visitors on a journey through the stories of historic figures at the station in 1863. Visitors can choose to follow the journey of one of three individuals and discover their connections with the station in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg:
- Cornelia Hancock, a young Quaker school teacher from New Jersey who traveled alone to Gettysburg to serve as a nurse, offered her assistance to care for the wounded and dying soldiers.
- Eli Blanchard, a teen who enlisted as a soldier in the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry and band member of the Iron Brigade, assisted with amputations performed in the field hospital.
- Basil Biggs, a free African American man from Maryland who had moved his family to Gettysburg in 1858 in search of better opportunities, worked with his crew to exhume the bodies of the fallen Union soldiers to transport them for proper burial in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Guests will see President Abraham Lincoln and can feel the impact of his Gettysburg Address and consider how it influences us today.
“The newly redesigned station makes an excellent venue to visit along with the David Wills House, owned and operated by our partner the National Park Service, to explore the history of the brief but significant visit of the 16th President to Gettysburg,” says Motts.
Located at 35 Carlisle Street in downtown Gettysburg, Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys opens following an interior renovation of the ground floor. The landmark building will now be the home of Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys. Best known as the station where President Lincoln arrived for the dedication of the national cemetery where he delivered the famous Gettysburg Address, the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM has more recently served as a visitor information stop with self-guided tours of the historic station.
“The Gettysburg Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generous donors whose support made this innovative and educational experience at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station possible,” said Motts. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation. In addition to the grant, the Gettysburg Foundation is grateful to Captain Joan R. Hankey, USN (Ret.), and David and Sherri Malgee, among others.
Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys: Grand Opening, April 29, 2022
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Friday, April 29, at 10 a.m. at the station before opening its doors for visitors. Ticket holders for Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys can enjoy the new virtual reality experience from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the opening day.
The new virtual reality experience will be open through November on Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Fridays, Noon until 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The virtual reality experience will hold winter hours in December of Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys will be closed in January and February except for Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day weekends when it will open Saturday through Monday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys tickets are available to purchase online at GettysburgFoundation.org, by calling 877-874-2478, at the ticket counter inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center and on-site at Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys.
In addition to supporting its mission of education and preservation, the Gettysburg Foundation believes the new virtual reality experience will provide a unique opportunity for visitors and area residents, as well as an educational venue for school groups. To purchase tickets when available for Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys and experiences, tours and events offered by the Gettysburg Foundation, call 877-874-2478 or visit GettysburgFoundation.org.