If you ever plan on visiting the site of the bloodiest battle during the Civil War, then a stop at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center will be on your to do list. After all, why shouldn’t it be? Here you will learn so much about the battle that will greatly improve your understanding of what really happened all around you.
The museum is very impressive with all the artifacts that are displayed within. Everything from the start of the war to the end. Of course the National Military Park Museum also has artifacts from the Gettysburg battle as well.
Now let’s discover everything you will find in this wonderful visitor center and museum.
FILM AND CYCLORAMA
“A New Birth of Freedom” film is an amazing 22 min long film that is narrated by Morgan Freeman. You won’t even know that 22 minutes passed as I didn’t find one dull moment in the whole film. Of course that could just be because of Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman just has one of those voices.
The film covers the start of the Civil War. All the way through to the end of the fighting. The film is done really well and is definitely worth seeing at least once.
Now the Cyclorama is truly something you have to see to believe. This is a 360 degree painting that is 42 feet tall and 377 feet long. At times it can be hard to find with the foreground elements end and the painting begins.
The painting depicts Pickett’s Charge which happened on the 3rd day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The painting is so realistic that it is said that veterans of the battle wept when they saw it. That just tells you how close this painting is to what they would have faced.
When you get up to the room that houses the painting just pick a spot. Since the painting covers the whole room, no spot is a bad spot. Now watch as the battle comes to life with sounds and effects from Pickett’s Charge. It’s a must see for anyone visiting Gettysburg.
The Film and Cyclorama take about 45 minutes to complete. You will need to purchase timed tickets and each time slot is limited.
The museum is full of interesting artifacts from the Civil War. Not just items from the Battle of Gettysburg. Of course you will see the types of weapons used by both the Union and Confederate Armies.
Just looking at the different weapons and ammo used makes me happy I served in today’s military and not back than. It’s still always great viewing these amazing pieces of history.
Besides the weapons used, you will see the uniforms worn by both sides. Equipment used by soldiers and officers. You will even get a glimpse of how they would have slept in the camps.
Also see what battlefield medicine was like. It’s crazy to see what wounded soldiers would have gone through. It’s not hard to see why so many Americans died during the Civil War and why Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle.
My daughter and I went through the museum part pretty quickly (30-45 minutes) but you could easily spend two hours or more looking at all the different exhibits.
The gift shop at the visitor center is pretty cool. You will find all kinds of one of a kind souvenirs. Plus there are numerous books, shirts, pins, mugs, stuffed animals and more.
They had many different styles of Gettysburg t-shirts and sweatshirts to choose from. I do believe that a shirt is one of the best souvenirs you can get from the places you visit. Well t-shirts and pins.
The gift shop carries many different pins and patches. I prefer the pins. I have a board at my place with all the pins I’ve collected from the many places I have visited in the past few years. It is one of the things my daughter and I do together when I am out showing her name places around the US. I always let her pick out the pin to place on the board.
Another great way to immortalize your visit to Gettysburg National Military Park is to get a National Parks Passport. Every National Park you visit will have an area where you can get a stamp (free) for your book.
Many of the locations also sell stickers that can be placed in your Passport book as well. Remember to bring your National Parks Passport and collect your stamp at any National Park you visit around the country.
The Battlefield is the biggest draw to this area. Let me tell you that it is a massive area. As of 2009 the total area that makes up the National Military Park is 3,965 acres. Now that is not all the battlefield but the Battlefield makes up a good portion of that.
One of the best viewing points of the entire battlefield is at Little Round Top. You can get some amazing views of the surrounding area. Places like Devil’s Den and the Wheat Field. You can really picture in your head how things would have played out from this viewpoint.
Devil’s Den is another favorite location of mine. It always sounded so menacing to me when I was younger. I couldn’t imagine being a Confederate or Union soldier having to fight on these grounds. After serving in the USMC and spending time overseas in Iraq. I have an idea of how brutal war can be and couldn’t imagine fighting with a musket.
Don’t forget to pick up a map and travel along to all the many memorials scattered all around the battlefield. If you like taking pictures. There are many places to pull over and get some pretty amazing shots.
With all the hard work that has been put in to make everything appear as it was in 1863. You can take photos and with a little editing make it look like it was taken back in 1863. It really is amazing what the average person can achieve.
You could easily spend the whole day exploring all the locations on the battlefield. After all, the battle did take place over 3 days. You won’t need that long.
Thinking about taking a trip to historic Gettysburg? Did this little review help? Let us know in the comments below. If you are going to make the trip check out our review on the Wyndham Gettysburg. It’s a wonderful hotel only minutes from the battlefield and museum.
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