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“More than just a Civil War site” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Andersonville National Historic Site and National Prisoner of War Museum

Andersonville National Historic Site and National Prisoner of War Museum
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Andersonville National Historic Site pays tribute to all American prisoners of war. The park has three features: the National Prisoner of War Museum, the site of the Andersonville prison, and the Andersonville National Cemetery.The National Prisoner of War Museum commemorates the sacrifices of all American prisoners of war. Museum exhibits tell the story of prisoners of war using artifacts, visuals, text and oral history interviews with former prisoners of war. Two 30-minute introductory films alternate thoughout the day. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. A tour road encircles the Andersonville prison site; a self-guided driving tour is available. The Andersonville National Cemetery contains the graves of nearly 13,000 Union prisoners of war. The national cemetery is still active and contains over 20,000 interments.Most visitors spend at least two hours in the park. Those with an interest in the Civil War or military history could easily spend most of the day.
Madison, South Dakota
Level Contributor
365 reviews
199 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 316 helpful votes
“More than just a Civil War site”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2014

I noticed that most of the reviews of this site treat it as a Civil War prison camp that BTW has a POW museum. That's not surprising since most people probably came here because they had learned about Andersonville in school or had seen the play about it. But that does a disservice to an excellent museum that chronicles the history of US POWs in wars dating back to the Revolution. Rarely does one consider that POWs share a common bond regardless of the war they fought in. The psychological aspects of being a prisoner don't change.

Furthermore, the site is also an operational national cemetery and is the final resting place of hundreds of soldiers and their spouses from more modern times. On any given day military burial services may be ongoing.

At first the juxtaposition of the Andersonville and POW themes might seem odd, but the planners of the site realized that most POWs experience the same hardships as did the troops at Andersonville although the circumstances of their confinement were different. Therefore, it seemed only natural to explain the Andersonville story in the context of stories told by other American POWs from other wars.

Many of the stories aren't pretty but they tell of courage and of an unwavering determination to fight back. Some of the museum's exhibits will not be suitable for children under the age of ~8-10, but the overall Andersonville experience can be achieved without exposing young children to some of the darker aspects. In fact, the newly revised Junior Ranger booklet explains the basic story using primarily the outdoor displays of the prison and only a limited visit to the museum's exhibits.

There are two excellent videos, one on Andersonville and one on the POW experience that you can use to begin your visit. Together they take an hour and are shown alternately. After that introduction you can either focus on the outside tour of the prison or on the museum, which contains both Andersonville and POW artifacts. Ranger tours of the prison area are given several times a day and last about an hour. Audio CDs can be borrowed for free which provide half hour automobile tours of both the prison grounds and the cemetery.

Between the videos, the museum and either a car or ranger tour you can easily spend half a day or more. No food is sold on the site and there isn't much nearby, so packing a lunch might be worthwhile.

Visited April 2014
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1 Thank docj9000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Touching Memorial”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2014 via mobile

This museum is loaded with displays and information regarding our soldiers who endured or perished in captivity.

The artifacts and copies of actual items help to explain the hard life of the POW. The Vietnam War prisoner cells/cages were particularly telling.

Our only complaint was that some of the very faint lighting makes it nearly impossible to read certain displays.

Helpful?
Thank Don V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Stark Reality”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2014 via mobile

I have wanted to visit this awful place for years. Finally made it.

Having read about this horrible and cruel prison for years, I could almost see the stockade fences surrounding the areas and smell the stench of waste and filth and disease and death as we walked the grounds. It was harder to imagine the areas loaded with so many unfortunate souls as were squeezed in at one time.

The site is well maintained and well marked. Make sure to avoid "The Sinks," unless you enjoy venomous snakes.


Helpful?
Thank Don V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brunswick, Georgia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Sobering”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2014

It was a very sobering experience to see relics and to read about the suffering and horrors that our veterans experienced during their time as a POW during their service to this great nation.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank LauraY3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brunswick, Georgia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Moving”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2014

Very moving experience. To imagine the horrors of what happened on that site brought me to tears. This is a must see for everyone who has the history bug. Especially civil war buffs.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank LauraY3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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