Over the past year, Gettysburg visitors and area residents have been exploring Gettysburg’s first virtual reality experience, Ticket to the Past–Unforgettable Journeys in the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM since the Gettysburg Foundation opened the doors to the new experience April 29, 2022. On April 29, 2023, the Foundation is pleased to commemorate the one-year anniversary of opening this history-based experience that provides visitors the opportunity to journey back to 1863, with the help of virtual reality technology.
Ticket to the Past–Unforgettable Journeys: Anniversary Commemorative Programming
Ticket holders can enjoy special commemorative programming along with their virtual reality encounter during a visit to the historic station Saturday, April 29, 2023. From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., visitors can interact with living historians with Officers for the Union and Ladies for the Union upon arrival and hear a brief history of the train station with a historian on the pavilion following the virtual reality experience. From 3 until 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy Civil War era music and commentary with musician Tom Fontana upon arrival. Ticket holders visiting on the anniversary date will also receive an exclusive anniversary commemorative train ticket.
Ticket to the Past–Unforgettable Journeys features 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 national cemetery dedication. Designed for guests six-years of age and older, the virtual reality experience tells 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; and 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 can see President Abraham Lincoln and can feel the impact of his Gettysburg Address and consider how it influences us today.
“We look forward to commemorating the anniversary and continuing to provide the virtual reality experience for the region and our visitors to Gettysburg for generations to come. Perseverance, compassion and optimism are woven into the stories of forward-thinking citizens, dedicated medical personnel and devoted soldiers whose actions made this station a focal point in our American history,” said Gettysburg Foundation president and CEO Wayne E. Motts. “The station is truly a historic treasure and the perfect place to witness the unforgettable journeys of these historic figures,” added Motts.
Located at 35 Carlisle Street in downtown Gettysburg, Ticket to the Past–Unforgettable Journeys opened following an interior renovation of the landmark building’s ground floor, made possible in part by a National Park Foundation grant and the support of generous donors.
“Best known as the station where President Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg for the national cemetery dedication where he delivered the Gettysburg Address, it is an excellent venue to visit along with the National Park Service’s David Wills House and Gettysburg National Cemetery, to explore the history of the brief but significant visit of our 16th President,” said Motts.
Tickets for Ticket to the Past–Unforgettable Journeys are available to purchase at GettysburgFoundation.org, by phone to 717-334-2436, at the ticket counter inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center and on-site.