Positives: great collection, inexpensive admission
Negatives: mediocre intro video, spelling on some captions, out of the way
Despite its history as a "rough-and-tumble cowtown", Fort Worth is home to an amazing diversity of cultural attractions: art, entertainment, dining, and education are all available in this one-time frontier outpost.
Add "outstanding Civil War museum" to the list.
The Texas Civil War Museum has one of the most interesting and well-presented collections of Civil War artifacts we've seen. The assemblage is not as large as prominent locations like Gettysburg or Vicksburg, but is more comprehensible due in part to it's smaller size. (One staff member called it "intimate"... That's a good adjective.)
Located on Loop 820 in far northwest Fort Worth (near White Settlement), the building's front resembles an antebellum home (or a government building.) As museums go, it's modestly sized.
Exhibits feature an amazingly broad selection, including historic weapons, uniforms, personal items, flags...even musical instruments. Display cases are clearly and cleverly arranged. Union artifacts are located on the north side of rooms, Confederate displays are on the south. Artifacts are logically arranged and well-lighted.
The first five exhibit halls contain items from both North and South, but the sixth is dedicated to Texas' role in the conflict. In my opinion, the highlight of this hall is an extremely detailed battle diorama. One could spend hours looking at the individual stories woven into this display.
Beyond the Texas exhibit, an extensive exhibit of ladies' wear from 1850 to 1900 completes the tour. As one might expect, my wife enjoyed this section, but I did, too! The designs created to accommodate various styles was indeed amazing!
Throughout the museum, informative captions accompany each artifact. Where possible, they list the owner, area of origin, function, and use. (We noticed a few spelling and punctuation errors, but that's a minor problem compared to information each caption provides.)
Quotes by famous persons of the era are also posted in various places.
Several video presentations are available to explain aspects of the war. The first presentation outlines Texas' involvement in the war. It's shown in the museum theater. Graphics are coarse, but the narration is informative. Overall, we thought it was worthwhile.
Other videos describe the life of soldiers in detail. They appear on televisions strategically located in different exhibit halls and the production is much better.
The gift shop has a nice variety of reasonably-priced books and souvenirs. We don't often buy items in museum stores, but found a book of interest. We also found a good collection of free brochures describing points of interest in Texas, and brochures for Civil War sites from Texas to the Atlantic coast.
Perhaps the best recommendation we can give is not our own. Two different groups of 20-something travelers came during our visit. We usually see older patrons, or families with elementary-school aged children, at places like this. Both groups stayed a considerable amount of time looking at pieces and reading information.
At $6.00 per adult, admission is a great bargain. (Similar area attractions cost up to five times as much!) Parking is free.
If you're interested in mid-19th century American history, this museum a "must see". Allow plenty of time to take it all in. We estimate most people could spend a couple of hours there. However, we were there three hours, and still couldn't take it all in. Now that we know the museum exists and its location, we can visit again to pick up where we left off.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.