The National Civil War Museum – A Journey To The Past

It started because of conflicting views over slavery and resulted in all-out war with several casualties.  From 1861 to 1865, the American Civil War waged in full force between the northern and southern states in a fight for freedom.  Though it resulted in over 600,000 deaths, victory was had with slavery being abolished and “a more perfect union” moving one step forward.  This was indeed a turning point in history and its legacy continues to live on in media, architecture, and many other ways.  Among them is the National Civil War Museum located in Reservoir Park in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  As an institution focused on preserving this monumental battle, it strives to educate visitors through exhibitions and other attractions that are both interesting and insightful.  With many options of historical places to visit, this is truly one not to be missed!

Designed as a chronological journey through the years, the National Civil War Museum invites visitors to step back in time beginning with the causes of the war and concluding at Appomattox Court House where it ended.  With several well researched and comprehensive exhibitions of artifacts, writings, photographs, and more, the museum halls are brought to life to tell the “entire story of the American Civil War”.  And history buffs will be thrilled to know that all the major battles are depicted here, from Bull Run to Vicksburg to Wilderness, and of course, Gettysburg.

Deluxe 1860 Civil War Cavalry Saber:

Deluxe 1860 Civil War Cavalry Saber

Featuring an eclectic assortment of galleries, the National Civil War Museum’s displays commence with pre-war showcases including A House Divided highlighting the causes of the war, followed by American Slavery: The Peculiar Institution drawing attention to America’s view of slavery at the time.  Next focus is the start of the war, with exhibits such as First Shots dating back to Fort Sumter, Making of Armies and Weapons and Equipment exploring army training and warfare, Campaigns and Battles of 1861-1865, Battle Map 1861-1862, Why Men Fought, 1861-1863, and Camp Curtin (the war’s largest Union camp).  Mid to end war attractions include Gettysburg, 1863, Campaigns and Battles of 1864-1865, and Battle Map, 1863-1865.  Other galleries worthy of mention bring enlightenment to special topics like Civil War Music, Women in the War, Costs of War (focused on Civil War medicine), Navy, and Lincoln: War and Remembrance.

Founded by former Harrisburg Mayor and Civil War enthusiast, Stephen Reed, the National Civil War Museum has gained a wonderful reputation and had much success.  Because of Reed’s passion, he invested a wealth of time in gathering war memorabilia between 1994 and 1999 and had many items donated to his cause.  With these artifacts in tow, he led a $32 million operation to build the museum.  Among the numerous artifacts collected and shown at the museum, some of the most interesting and rare include two of the three known sabers belonging to General J.E.B. Stuart, gauntlet worn by Stonewall Jackson, rare chains and iron shackles from the antebellum slave trade, and the last battle map used by General Robert E. Lee.

Civil War Pistol With Brass Finish:

Civil War Pistol With Brass Finish

The National Civil War Museum remains alive and well today and ranks as the largest institute devoted to the war.  It continues to draw big crowds every year and is always looking to illuminate visitors with new findings, pieces, and aspects of America’s greatest war!

To view our collection of Civil War weapons, artifacts, and gifts, go to

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