We had planned a full day of 4 museums in Richmond this day -- Tredegar Iron Works, American Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy and the White House of the Confederacy. Since we only had this one day, this was really an ambitious undertaking so we first toured Tredegar (right next door on the same property) and then this ACW museum. Between the 2, we spent 4 1/2 hours but we read almost everything in the ACWM. We were very fortunate in that it was a quiet day, mid-week. I think it may be a bit challenging to get near all of the sign-boards which lead you on a path through the museum. But it was perfect for us on the day we visited. We recommend that you purchase the combo ticket for Tredegar and ACWM at Tredegar. Don't forget to get your parking ticket validated at the ACWM before you leave.
It is a chronological museum so it's best understood if you go in order. It winds around the first floor and then you take an elevator to the second floor. It is open, airy and modern. All kinds of charts and an incredible treasure trove of information. The conflict is presented from 3 perspectives -- northerner, southerner and slave. It was so well done and the issues are so complex. It was here that I really was taught to appreciate it's complexity.
We loved this museum and recommend it to people who are ok with lots of reading of sign-boards. There are a few places they show short films, which were helpful, but mostly, you are learning about how the conflict was viewed from all 3 sides.