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“it's the museum”

Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center
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$8.95*
and up
Gettysburg Heritage Center and Museum Admission
Ranked #7 of 108 things to do in Gettysburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: "A New Birth of Freedom," narrated by Morgan Freeman, orients you to the battle; then see the sights and hear the sounds of the battle in the historic Cyclorama Painting Experience. Finally, tour the museum, packed with original artifacts and interactive exhibits. Tickets and shuttle bus to Eisenhower National Historic Site and seasonal programs at Spangler Farm Civil War Field Hospital from Visitor Center. Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, USA Today Top 10 Places to Visit, AAA Gem. Purchase tickets prior to your arrival online and reserve a Battlefield Guide (licensed through the National Park Service) through the Gettysburg Foundation, non-profit partner to the National Park Service at Gettysburg. Admission fee for Cyclorama, Film and Museum. Entry to Visitor Center, Museum Bookstore and Refreshment Saloon is free.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Reviewed October 5, 2012

My wife and I are history buffs. Our rating is based on the educational value of the museum; as you will read below we found a few problems, but do go to see the museum. The museum contains the largest collections that exists anywhere of artifacts connected with the battle at Gettysburg and it is the museum you want to see if you have a real interest in the history of the battle. The company that runs the place doesn't post the price for the museum only admission, but it is available without seeing the movie. If you've got children along see the movie and then the museum, but museum only admission is available without the movie, for a slight discount.

A very large portion of the collections were given to the Park Service by the Rosensteel family who lived in the area from the time of the battle and opened private museums there years ago. Since that collection was gifted to the Park Service in 1971, there is little recognition of the Rosensteel family's contribution and the numbers of items on display have been limited. That's a local criticism, but important to those who know the history of the battle and the historical artifacts collected since.

As I said the museum contains a large collection, but the displays are poorly lit. There are methods of lighting displays of delicate artifacts and not harming them with bright light. Many exhibits don't light the explanation plaques and when you bend to read the plaque your own shadow blocks the light from above.

The overlap of sound from audio presentations in the museum is terrible, especially in the areas closer to the entrance. Despite the buildings attractive exterior, the interior is a warehouse type space (look up at the black painted girders and ceiling) and has the acoustics of the inside of large, metal garbage can. Many things could be done to improve the presentation, but the displays are well worth the visit. Again, many museums have tackled these problems successfully, displaying delicate artifacts without damage from bright light, but still accessible. Sound presentations can be managed much better that they do here. Perhaps in the future this exhibit will improve, but for those willing to work at seeing it, it is worth your time to look around the imperfections and learn about the battle by seeing the artifacts, maps and presentations.

Another poorly designed area are the sidewalks leading from the outer parking lots. The mild Sunday in September we were there it was crowded. The sidewalks are too narrow for slow walkers or handicapped people not to cause a jam up. There's no room for faster moving people to pass easily. Look past these problems and get into the museums displays. It is worth it.

Thank 6,554,321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"visitor center"
in 645 reviews
"civil war"
in 572 reviews
"gift shop"
in 302 reviews
"great place to start"
in 91 reviews
"first stop"
in 140 reviews
"narrated by morgan freeman"
in 85 reviews
"cyclorama painting"
in 87 reviews
"degree painting"
in 60 reviews
"book store"
in 82 reviews
"starting point"
in 48 reviews
"short film"
in 59 reviews
"gettysburg museum"
in 111 reviews
"bus tour"
in 137 reviews
"on display"
in 72 reviews
"pickett's charge"
in 92 reviews
"eisenhower farm"
in 54 reviews
"history buff"
in 80 reviews
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3,850 - 3,854 of 4,737 reviews

Reviewed October 4, 2012

Start your Gettysburg experience here. The information shared and the museum teaches you about the battle and then you can travel out to the battlefield to experience it yourself.

Thank Muncher53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Don't miss this experience. Just the massiveness of the painting alone is breathtaking. The presentation is very informative and the experience is fantastic. The painting is explained and how it has been retouched and brought back to it's original splendor.

1  Thank Muncher53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Definitely worth it to hire a private guide. We got to the visitro's center before 10:00 am and were able to get an excellent guide (Gary V.) He drove our car for us and tailored our visit to our particular interests and was able to answer our questions. He brought the experience to life and brought us to tears at a couple of points. You will get so much more out of visiting the battlefields this way. also worth it to get tickets that get you in to the cyclorama, film and museum.

Thank Kentucky_Kat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 4, 2012

Beautifully restored and re-homed in the new Visitor's center. Just as a piece of art this extraordinary painting is worth seeing.

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

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