4.5
756 votes

The National Civil War Museum

One Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17103 USA

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Closed Now
Opens Sat 10a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    Accepted
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
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Historic Treasure

Our Take

This is a walk-through museum loaded with interesting facts and artifacts from the time period. It takes care to present a full and unbiased look at the Civil War. The exhibits cover topics from slavery and music to weapons and women’s roles in the war, so those who are less interested in the specifics of campaigns and strategy can engage in the museum, although there’s plenty for military historians to geek out over. There is a life-sized bronze statue of Lincoln outside, and I suggest sitting down and having a nice long chat with him.

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“encompassing an American struggle”

As President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address encompassed the emotions of the American struggle, The National Civil War Museum portrays this struggle as a time line, from the issues straining the nation through the war's conclusion at Appomattox Court House.  Nowhere can you find a better understanding of the Civil War, its effect on the nation, or on the people.  Come walk our halls.  See and feel the emotions rise and fall as you embrace Bull Run, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Antietam, and Gettysburg; once ordinary places transformed to hallowed ground within a few hours. The National Civil War Museum incorporates collections of artifacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and other printed matter that exceed 24,000 items.  Although many items have been donated to The National Civil War Museum since its opening, the vast majority of its collections were acquired by the City of Harrisburg between 1994 and 1999 under the auspices of Mayor Stephen R. Reed.  Three-dimensional objects (artifacts) comprise about 3,500 items, of which one-fourth (850 items) are on display in the permanent galleries of the building.  The balance is held in secure storage for future exhibits and for scholarly research, the latter reserved for Museum members and by appointment only. Because The National Civil War Museum's mission encompasses the period from 1850 through 1876, its' collections vary widely in scope and years of manufacture.  For the pre-War period, collections include artifacts that reflect on the nature of sectional controversies and, in particular, slavery.  The four actual years of War incorporate items from the civilian as well as the military venues of the conflict.  Our emphasis is on "the human side" of the conflict.  We exhibit and collect materials on the common soldiers, men and women on the home front, and the experiences of African Americans.  The military artifacts encompass all aspects of soldiers' experiences: from the personal equipage and weaponry of the War, to wounds, disease, prisoner-of-war experiences, and the emotional drain of the conflict. Whenever possible, emphasis has been placed on obtaining artifacts that are identified to specific combatants of the War and, according to availability, the prominent personalities of the war.  Post-War artifacts primarily reflect the impact of the War on western expansion. The National Civil War Museum continues to look for selective items to fill and enhance its displays and research collections. Please consider sharing your collection or artifacts from your ancestor's contributions to the Union or the Confederacy.  Help us develop and enhance The National Civil War Museum and our collections.  If you are looking for a safe and secure "home" for Civil War or related objects that may be in your possession, please think of us and consider the advantages of donating your object(s) to The National Civil War Museum.

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Reviewed by
dawnmarie222

  • 4 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
July 30, 2016
Rated 5.0

Enjoyed visiting here. Very thorough museum- great for kids and adults.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
cassy

  • 12 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
June 28, 2014

Wonderful! Worth the money and time! Lots of stuff to read and see!

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
EBlackman

  • 4 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 29, 2019
Rated 5.0

Wonderful artifacts. Docents are very knowledgeable.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
kpossible318

  • 18 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
January 14, 2018
Rated 5.0

This was a good stop. It was raining and very few people, but very informative and well worth the price.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
ANBELL

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
July 25, 2017
Rated 5.0

Great museum! Worth the stop, great exhibits to see before our trip to Gettysburg!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Steven Morgenstein

  • 28 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
June 04, 2021
Rated 5.0

It’s everything that was mentioned in the reviews and more. Here are a few of my observations.

There is bus parking. So that’s great if you are pulling a trailer, Class A or C.

The problem is if you don’t follow your GPS exactly. We made a wrong turn in our Class B and we were directed thru a few side streets that weren’t the best and tight.

This is an old part of the city. Streets and highways are tight and outdated. Plenty of road construction. So...plan your route in and out carefully.

The museum was great. But unless you are really into the Civil War, after 30 to 45 minutes you begin to get overwhelmed.

There is so much info here and you’ll start to get confused with by each skirmish and dates.

History buffs will love it but otherwise you can see and hear it quickly to get the full gist of what happened during that period of time.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
NYWriterMom

  • 35 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
August 23, 2020
Rated 5.0

Fabulous museum organized in chronological cause/effect order. Great informational, multi-perspective videos. Artifacts of high quality and interest. Staff was helpful. Teachers/AAA/Military receive discounts on entry and gift shop items. Glad we stopped.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
tczietlow1

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
August 24, 2021

If you request the Roadtrippers app to ‘navigate’ you to this site, you will end-up in a residential area and NOT near the actual museum. Therefore, use an alternate method to get directions to this site.

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Reviewed by
fiftystatesorbust

  • 5 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 13, 2021
Rated 5.0

Informative walk though museum depicting history through videos and self read timeline.

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Reviewed by
DnFbnK

  • 35 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 10, 2021
Rated 5.0

This was a great trip to make on our roadschooling journey. Our ten year old enjoyed the interactive exhibit to ask questions to Abraham Lincoln. Also worth noting-the gift shop is very reasonably priced lol

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The National Civil War Museum

One Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
17103 USA

Hours

Closed Now
  • Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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