In Gettysburg, together with our partner the National Park Service, we preserve history and educate the public about the significance of this special place. We tell the stories of people affected by the 1863 battle. This narrative includes the impact the battle had on soldiers, civilians and the tasks that remained in the battle’s aftermath. The stories, lessons and treasures of Gettysburg are still relevant today.
The Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM is one historic treasure in Gettysburg that will once again offer relevant, extraordinary and unforgettable stories. Stories of some of the unlikely occupants of the station during the aftermath of the battle are weaved in the history of the station in downtown Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM is best known as the station where President Abraham Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg the evening before the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (now the Gettysburg National Cemetery), where he delivered “a few appropriate remarks” – the Gettysburg Address. Crowds gathered outside the station hoping to see President Lincoln as he arrived Nov. 18, 1863. Months prior, following the battle in July 1863, the station became a gateway for transporting thousands of wounded and dead soldiers, medical staff and supplies, and relatives searching for their family members.
With recent renovations completed inside the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM on Carlisle Street, the Gettysburg Foundation will soon open an all-new experience. It will introduce visitors to historic figures who were occupants in the station – real-life individuals connected to the same station where events would extraordinarily impact their lives.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters and a grant, the Gettysburg Foundation will open the new virtual reality experience in April. The Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM will become home to Gettysburg’s first immersive virtual reality experience, Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys.
Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys tells the remarkable stories of a nurse, a soldier and a Gettysburg resident from 1863, with the help of virtual reality technology. The new experience will offer visitors the opportunity to feel the impact of President Lincoln’s iconic Gettysburg Address and consider how his “few appropriate remarks” influence us today. The newly redesigned station makes an excellent venue 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.
We believe visitors of all ages will enjoy this unique virtual reality journey back to 1863 to meet station occupants from the end of the battle to President Lincoln’s arrival. Choosing to follow the journey of one of the historic figures at the station, visitors discover the impact the station had on his or her life and get a glimpse of President Lincoln himself. Most importantly, we hope visitors enjoy this experience with their families, friends and school classes and leave with an appreciation for Gettysburg’s inspirational history and significance.
Later this week, we will announce information about Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys, the details of our grand opening and how and when you can visit.
It is no coincidence this new experience is head quartered in the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM. The historic figures, real-life people, who were impacted by the battle and this station, experienced unforgettable journeys – impacting our lives still today.
Wayne E. Motts
President and CEO, Gettysburg Foundation
First appeared in the Gettysburg Foundation's column in the March 2/, 2022, edition of the Gettysburg Times.