Photo Essays

The American Civil War Museum: A Photo Tour

Posted 5/23/2019 By Zethyn McKinley

The new American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, had its grand opening May 4, 2019, and we were there to see it. The new facility, which boasts 6,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, aims to cover the Civil War from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, and soldiers and civilians. Below are images of the state-of-the-art building and its exhibits.

New American Civil War Museum
The new museum building is located among the ruins of Tredegar Iron Works, which was essential for the Confederacy’s heavy ordnance and munitions production. Visitors enter the building by walking through the brick archway and past preserved remnants of Tredegar’s mills and foundries. (Zethyn McKinley, The Civil War Monitor)
American Civil War Museum gallery
A collage of colorized images adorns the entrance to the main museum gallery—key figures you would recognize like Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis and those who may be unfamiliar. These help transport you to the 1860s and connect you to the people who lived through the Civil War, making them seem all the more real. (Zethyn McKinley, The Civil War Monitor)
American Civil War 1861
Pillars organize the gallery by year and include interactive screens that allow you to explore specifics about the artifacts in the room. (Penelope Carrington, The American Civil War Museum)
American Civil War Floor Case
A display under your feet showcases items found on the battlefield, left behind by soldiers on both sides. (Zethyn McKinley, The Civil War Monitor)
American Civil War Amputation Case
Cases detail different aspects of the war, like this one about medical care and amputations. (Zethyn McKinley, The Civil War Monitor)
Surgeon Dr. Walker
As if looking at a window through time, you can learn about the lives of people like the U.S. Army’s first female surgeon, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. (Penelope Carrington, The American Civil War Museum)
American Civil War Museum Slavery
Rotating projections of images and quotes bring individual stories and experiences to life. (Zethyn McKinley, The Civil War Monitor)
The American Civil War Museum Theater
Visitors can enter a theater stylized after the Mississippi River bluff at Vicksburg and watch a narrative program projected onto a fractured geometric screen, which alludes to the fractured feeling the fighting caused among the nation’s civilians and soldiers. (Penelope Carrington, The American Civil War Museum)
Civil War Impacts Exhibit
The museum’s final room shows the impact of the Civil War: more than a million casualties and over 750,000 deaths among soldiers alone. Also highlighted are the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, which abolished slavery, provided all citizens equal protection under the law, and extended voting rights to African-American men. (Zethyn McKinley, The Civil War Monitor)  


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