Civil War Sites for Families in Virginia
(Richmond, Va.) May 19, 2011 - Families traveling to Virginia to experience the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and Emancipation have one thing in mind – keeping the kids entertained. In Virginia, even the youngest of visitors will find enough interactive games, hands-on exhibits and special tours while visiting Civil War sites with mom and dad. These are a few of the many history sites in Virginia that are ideal for active families.
Transform into a Civil War Soldier at Pamplin Historical Park
Pamplin Historical Park & the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is a 422-acre destination near Petersburg which offers high-tech museums and hands-on experiences perfect for kids.
The park’s Discovery Program begins at the museum gallery “Duty Called Me Here,” where youngsters are introduced to Delevan Miller, a 13-year-old drummer boy who served with the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery Regiment. Outfitted with MP3 players, children hear Delevan’s actual words as he describes his experiences in the Civil War. They also hear a special gallery narration scripted just for kids.
At the Military Encampment, kids can enter the Discovery Hut and sample Civil War uniforms and period clothing that are just their size. They can also try their hand at interactive computer kiosks in the Battlefield Center that feature learning games and quizzes based on what they have seen at the park.
Get Hands-on History at the American Civil War Center at Tredegar
The American Civil War Center at Tredegar in historic Richmond is the first museum in the nation to tell the story of the Civil War from the Union, Confederate and African American perspectives.
The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is an 8.3 acre educational campus built among the ruins of the Tredegar Iron Works. It is home to the landmark exhibit In the Cause of Liberty, housed in the 1861 Tredegar Gun Foundry, and the Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center.
Relive the Action at the USS Monitor Center at the Mariner’s Museum
Get up close and personal with the world-famous Civil War ironclads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, in the award-winning exhibition, Ironclad Revolution at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News.
Because the Civil War coincided with the Industrial Revolution, new inventions and innovative thinking helped to sculpt a new weapon in the arsenal: the Ironclad. The Battle of Hampton Roads, between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia was the first standoff between these new and formidable forces.
Kids get to join the action in a high-technology battle theater, walk the deck of a full-scale Monitor replica, experience interactive exhibits, and see notable artifacts like the iconic rotating gun turret.
Get Out and Get Active on Fredericksburg’s Trail to Freedom
Created in 2009, the Trail to Freedom is a self-guided tour that tells the story of thousands of slaves crossing into freedom.
In April 1862, many area slaves saw the arrival of the Union army in Stafford as a chance for freedom. During the five-month Union occupation, slaves from Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and surrounding counties streamed into Union lines. It was likely the largest single exodus of slaves in America up to that time. As many as 10,000 slaves crossed the Rappahannock River to freedom.
The trail gives kids a chance to stretch their legs by walking to each trail site to read words and hear stories of the slaves who crossed into freedom.
Be Part of the Story at the Virginia Historical Society
What place can tell the story of the Civil War in Virginia better than an institution that was already 30 years old when the war broke out? At the Virginia Historical Society visitors can experience that story in the context of the entire history of the Commonwealth.
The An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia exhibit debuted in 2011 and brings visitors in direct contact with voices of those who experienced the Civil War in Virginia including soldiers, civilians and slaves. Dynamic interactive exhibits accent the narratives through sight and sound. People of any age can put themselves in the shoes of an escaping slave confronted by a bewildering array of decisions and choices while journeying towards anticipated freedom or stand in the midst of the hurricane of battle. Priceless artifacts are expertly paired with high technology in this exhibit that will later travel to other locations throughout Virginia in 2012 and beyond.
The museum's permanent Civil War exhibit includes the uniform legendary Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart was wearing when he was mortally wounded as well as the personal library of Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
Lots to Explore at the Crab Tree Orchard Museum
The Crab Orchard Museum preserves the cultural heritage of the Appalachian Region including the era of the Civil War with exhibits on the 500 year-old Native American Village discovered on site, Pioneer Life, and military conflicts.
See the animals of Southwest Virginia, such as the turkey, black bear, and Bald Eagle, along with the infamous "varmint," a coyote credited with killing 410 sheep in the 1950s. Look for prehistoric fossils, colonial maps, coal mining and farm tools too.
The Writing’s on the Wall at the Old Court House Civil War Museum
The history of the Civil War is written on the wall at the Old Court House Civil War Museum in Winchester, literally. Kids get a kick out of seeing graffiti from both Union and Confederate soldiers as the historic building was a prison and a hospital during the Civil War. The museum remembers these soldiers and tells their stories through the equipment they carried, photographs of the period, and the weapons and ammunition they used. Exhibit contains graffiti from captured soldiers and a nationally recognized collection of more than 3,000 Civil War artifacts.
Visit www.Virginia.org/CivilWar for more information and to start planning a trip to Virginia during the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War and Emancipation. Or call 1-800-VISIT-VA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.