All photos courtesy of The National Civil War Museum
The National Civil War Museum is known as the “Crown Jewel” of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Our stunning views and location high above Dauphin County afford our guests unparalleled beauty and a world-class collection of artifacts. As you approach the entrance to the museum, you will discover the Moment of Mercy statue by sculptor Terry Jones, framed by the Walk of Valor. Take a moment to reflect here on the mercy given to the fallen soldiers by one brave man, Confederate Sergeant Richard Kirkland, during the Battle of Fredericksburg, forever memorialized in bronze.
Once inside the Museum, let the grand rotunda’s splendor take you back to a time of sweeping staircases and grand dreams before you enter the museum galleries and are forever changed by the history you will see. The National Civil War Museum will take you back in time to learn about the American Civil War, in which more than 620,000 Americans perished. With more than 25,000 artifacts, the museum seeks to tell the whole story of this most troubled chapter in American history while focusing on the issues, the people and the lives that were affected.
A self-guided tour takes you through 17 galleries illustrating the war and its consequences. It begins with A House Divided, 1850–1860, a timeline of incidents and issues prior to the Civil War, and concludes with Lincoln: War & Remembrance, a retrospective of the war, the martyred President and the role of veterans after the war. In addition to static displays and artifacts, the self-guided tour of the museum includes the award-winning We the People video program, the continuing story of ten characters, which lasts about one hour and concludes in the museum’s theater. There, museum visitors conclude their museum visit by viewing a 16-minute film discussing the end of the war and the assassination of President Lincoln.
The vistas available from the museum grounds and covered observatory span four counties and the scenic Susquehanna River narrows. Also visible is the area of Harrisburg that contained Camp Curtin, the largest camp of rendezvous in the North during the war. The capital of Pennsylvania and a major rail hub for men and materials, Harrisburg played a vital role in the Civil War and was threatened by the invasion of the Confederate Army of northern Virginia.
The National Civil War Museum, 1 Lincoln Cir., Harrisburg, PA 17103, 1-717-260-1861
For more details visit nationalcivilwarmuseum.org.
This attraction was originally featured in the May/June 2019 digital version of AAA World.