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A New Side to Old History at Gettysburg’s Beyond the Battle Museum
While the lore and literature surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg may seem exhaustive, there is still a “new” side of the battle to explore: the brand-new, state-of-the-art Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum delves into the stories of civilians—not soldiers—and how they lived and survived during the most pivotal battle of the Civil War.
The Beyond the Battle Museum, which explores the extraordinary tales of ordinary citizens through rare artifacts and advanced technology, is sure to show visitors a side of the battle not often glimpsed. A highlight of the museum is the interactive and cutting-edge “Caught in the Crossfire” exhibit, which simulates the experience of one Gettysburg family trapped behind enemy lines. Visitors will get to see, feel, and hear what it would have been like to be confined in a basement as enemy forces closed in during this critical time in 1863. In addition to this immersive experience, the museum features 11 other permanent exhibits that cover such topics as the community’s involvement in abolitionist efforts preceding the war, the toll in terms of death, disease, and destruction for civilians after the war, and the firsthand experience of hearing the Gettysburg Address. The temporary special exhibit titled “Early Photography at Gettysburg – The Frassanito Collection” features a selection of intriguing and original images of the Battle of Gettysburg, including shots of dead soldiers on the battlefield, a series of rare views captured at Devil’s Den, and the only existing photographic print from the Gettysburg Address ceremonies. But the museum doesn’t limit itself to the Civil War period alone: in addition to the Civil War, the museum explores the lives of Native Americans, life on the frontier, and even efforts in the 21st century to preserve the battlefield. The new building is the culmination of fundraising efforts by the Adams County Historical Society, a feat which involved raising $12 million for their 29,000 square foot facility and a year to pore through the Society’s one million artefacts to select the 600 chosen for display in the museum.
The museum is located at 625 Biglerville Road in Gettysburg. From April 15 to October, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Friday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday. Please note that the museum utilizes a time-ticketing system, and it is recommended that visitors reserve their tickets prior to their arrival.