The museum presents a good overview of the Civil War, organized in both date order and in major sections. If a visitor has had rather limited CW immersion, spending a couple hours here will prove a quick lesson (call it Civil War in a nutshell). Those with more extensive CW knowledge may not acquire more, but may appreciate the coordination of the arrangements and the over-4000 artifacts, nearly all originals.
Besides the expected weaponry, uniforms, maps, flags, and personal mementos, there are good displays of drums and fifes and medical / surgical supplies (including an original "ambulance"), lifesize camp mockup, a history of slavery, info on the atrocities of the prison camps, Lincoln's death, the restoration. Also of particular note are the many videos available, with seating (particularly nice if one tires of the immense amount of reading), and the boards depicting the "Firsts" brought about by the War.
Recommendations for improvement: While many have concluded that this museum presents both sides of the War, we still found a Union bias, though not severe. There is some incorrect verbage and typos on a few of the displays. Information regarding the lead-up to the War, in the section called A House Divided, is rushed. Not enough is presented to help visitors understand the MANY reasons for the War, nor Lincoln's reluctance to end slavery, nor states' rights to secede. Finally, an exhibit regarding women's roles and sacrifices during and after the CW is pointedly and disturbingly absent. It is for these reasons to downgrade the museum from a "4" to a "3".
Cost is twelve dollars per adult, one dollar off for seniors. Parking is free. Our visit lasted 3.5 hours on a Sunday, often with sections to ourselves. One could zip through in an hour, or linger all day. Restrooms on both floors are spotless. Elevator available. Check the website for special events, such as weapon demos.
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