History is like Frankenstein's monster; all it takes to make it come alive is the right education, a large body of artifacts exhumed from the earth, and an electrical storm. Learn from the past with today's Groupon: for $10, you get two tickets (up to a $9 value each), plus a gallery guidebook (a $4.95 value), to The National Civil War Museum in Reservoir Park in Harrisburg (a $22.95 total value).
Perched at the highest point in Harrisburg and just 10 minutes from the state capital, The National Civil War Museum remains the largest museum in the world dedicated to undressing the wounds behind both sides of America's bloodiest war. Meander through the winding halls of history, perusing some 24,000 artifacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and other printed documents that paint literary portraits of politics and passions endured in back rooms and battlefields. Throughout the visit, history buffs can explore the war through both Union and Confederate viewpoints, along with military and civilian perspectives that resurrect the ghosts of the war in eerie ingenuity. In addition to displays of uniforms, firearms, and starry-night camp re-creations, inquisitive wanderers can engage the museum's newest interactive Lincoln exhibit, which reveals pressing answers to questions related to wartime legislation and facial-hair fashions of the day.
The Columbus Dispatch reviewed The National Civil War Museum. The Gypsy Journal, The Patriot-News, and the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable also featured the museum. TripAdvisors give it a four owl-eye average, five Yelpers give it a four-star average, and more than 3,800 Facebookers like it.
- Visitors of all ages will find plenty to like in the 65,000-square-foot facility, whether they want to spend a day or an hour. – Steve Stephens, The Columbus Dispatch
- You will come away with a greater understanding of the conflict that divided our nation, and new compassion for the men and women caught in the middle. – Gypsy Journal
The National Civil War Museum
People tend to walk slowly through The National Civil War Museum—both out of respect for the fallen soldiers and sheer awe at how much there is to see. The institution strives to cover the events before, during, and after the war without bias to either the Union or Confederate cause.
- Size: with 21,000 historic documents and 4,400 artifacts rotating in and out of exhibits on two floors, the museum recommends reserving 2 to 4 hours for a visit
- Eye Catcher: Moment of Mercy—a statue outside the museum that depicts Richard Kirkland, a confederate sergeant who gave water to wounded Union troops
- Permanent Mainstay: Weapons & Equipment, a collection of rifles and uniforms from both sides of the Mason Dixon
- Temporary Exhibit: 1864—the first of four special exhibits to cover specific years of the war and part of the museum's lead up to the Civil War's 150th anniversary
- Don't Miss: a giant, interactive video wall, where President Abraham Lincoln answers questions about anything except his hat
- Leave Your Mark: descendants of Civil War veterans can purchase memorial bricks that add their relatives' names to the museum's Walk of Valor