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“What an incredible place!”

National Civil War Museum
Ranked #2 of 46 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 July 14, 2013

This museum was terrific. As part of the Smithsonian Museum system, I would expect nothing less. A well planned and informative model of the impact the Civil War had on the North, the South and the country as a whole. We could have spent more time there. My husband is a true museum buff and he loved it. If you want to know about the Civil War, this is the place to go.

3  Thank Michaeline S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"both sides"
in 87 reviews
"chronological order"
in 23 reviews
"better understanding"
in 11 reviews
"events leading up"
in 11 reviews
"president lincoln"
in 10 reviews
"two floors"
in 19 reviews
"hill overlooking"
in 11 reviews
"interesting artifacts"
in 14 reviews
"enjoy history"
in 10 reviews
"history buff"
in 21 reviews
"gift shop"
in 36 reviews
"self guided tour"
in 26 reviews
"two hours"
in 23 reviews
"several hours"
in 15 reviews
"well worth the trip"
in 10 reviews
"on display"
in 16 reviews
"second floor"
in 13 reviews
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832 - 836 of 968 reviews

Reviewed July 13, 2013

We enjoyed going to the National Civil War Museum and thought it was very well put together. I good presentation of each side. It depends on how much you read, on how long it will take to go through the museum. I was able to take pictures but my flash had to be off.

3  Thank imabusy2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

No fault of the museum, but my gps brought us to a closed gate of the museum. Stay on Market st for another block or two and the entrance is on the left. I would have liked to see more signs for the museum in the area, and better signs in the park leading to the museum. This is a well constructed museum on a sensitive matter. Both sides of the civil war was well represented. The museum started with prewar conflicts and ended with Lincoln's assassination. There was a LOT of information to sort through, but the plaques where well presented. I enjoyed the videos and reenactment videos. As the last review stated, we had to drive though some "impoverished" areas to get there.

3  Thank babywe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2013

We had fun there was just a bit scary driving up into the town, looked a bit run downed in there area, seemed like a very ghetto area. Other than that the inside of the museum was supercute. me and the hubby enjoyed it so well, kids found it a bit boring..

1  Thank Angelina G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 30, 2013

The National Civil War Museum is a must for anyone interested in the Civil War. It gives a balanced presentation of the many issues associated with the Civil War. There is much to see and it is a worthy venue. It is doubtful that there is any better overall presentation of the War than at this museum. The means of presentation of various aspects are too varied to write about whether it is mannequins in uniforms or in scenes, old photos, old letters, old equipment etc. But the real value of the museum is the wide range of items and information about the War that is presented.

Cell phones are to be placed on silent. Photography is allowed but the flash has to be off. The problem with photography is that there is considerable darkness in the museum with lighting on some of the exhibits and not on others. A few brighten and darken . . . whether on a schedule or when people approach I was not sure about. You can get good photos on some things and not on others. Of course the museum is not about photography but about history. Still, even excluding photography, the darkness in some areas bothered me. Anyone with any limited vision problems might find enjoyment of the museum to be a problem. I also wasn't impressed with having to stand and wait to see if an exhibit brightened up so that it could be better seen. Somebody thinks keeping it fairly dark has some value and there may be a good reason for it that I don't know about. What I do know is that had there been more light in the museum I would have given it a 5 instead of a 4. Lighting is my only negative as it is a great museum.

There is also a good gift shop. The employees we encountered were friendly, helpful and a positive for the museum. As we were leaving a ton of young boyscouts were arriving and I am not as sure what that would have done to our experience as the element of quiet and some audio exhibits is an important part of the museum. Kids running around in excitement with loud voices has ruined other historical sites so, hopefully, running the kids through the museum won't have that impact. There is something solemn about the museum and that is appropriate as it covers a negative part of American history. When we were going through the museum there were only a few people in it and very little noise which was good as there are audio clips. The museum is also in multiple rooms which would isolate loud and distracting people from ruining it completely. I suspect the darkness with selected lighted areas was chosen because it does create a different atmosphere and in some instances improves drama.

1  Thank Dalarna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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