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“CW Overview”

National Civil War Museum
Ranked #2 of 55 things to do in Harrisburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The only museum in the United States to present a balanced, unbiased look at the Civil War.
Reviewed 11 September 2017

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.

Thank goseedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 - 27 of 840 reviews

Reviewed 8 September 2017 via mobile

We took a detour to Gettysburg on our way to Cleveland and am I glad we did. Very informative and lots to see, and best of all it was free. A must visit for anyone visiting Pennsylvania

Thank Liam K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2017 via mobile

I visited the National Civil War Museum expecting to spend most of the day there as I am a huge Civil War buff. I lingered over the amazing and engaging exhibits and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The museum does a first rate job of offering a balanced presentation of of both sides of the War, although that is a very difficult task. Many of the exhibits are heartbreaking displays of the suffering of civilians caught in the middle of this Great War of ideas. Although it was a fabulous museum, it took me only 2 1/2 hours to see all of the exhibits.

Thank Eric S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2017

Over the winter I took my children (both under 10) for a visit. The museum had plenty of exhibits and was interactive enough to hold their attention while also being interesting for adults. We spent a little over half a day here and feel like we got to see everything. A true Civil War buff could likely spend substantially more time.

Thank surfphoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2017 via mobile

Definitely worth a "look see" if you are near Harrisburg and with a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Bring the kids if you are visiting Hershey. Lots to see and learn. More appropriate than is assumed because you can see the furthest northern advance of the Army of Northern Virginia before the Battle of Gettysburg to the Southwest.

Thank 52 725 272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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