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Pamplin Historical Park & the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier has been called "the new crown jewel of Civil War history destinations in America" by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
James McPherson. The 422-acre park features a world-class museum, antebellum plantation home, historic battlefield and living history demonstrations which create an experience as entertaining as it is educational.

The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is the acclaimed centerpiece of Pamplin Historical Park. The 25,000 square-foot, $10.5 million facility can be ranked among the cutting edge museums of any kind in the country. According to Civil War Times Illustrated, "The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier has elevated the standard for interpreting Civil War history through media and museums." Its exciting and engaging audio/visual presentation conveys the story of the 3,000,000 rank and file soldiers who served in America's bloodiest conflict, and is perfectly suited to any age or interest level.
Visitors are accompanied through the exhibit galleries by an audio tour (via a CD player and headset) which surrounds them in voices, music, camp and battle sounds. A dramatic narration is punctuated by voices of soldiers who tell in their own words about their experiences.

At the entrance to the museum galleries, the visitor selects a "Soldier Comrade" from a group of photographs of 13 real Civil War soldiers. These men left behind letters, diaries and journals, and as visitors tour the museum, they will hear the "voice" of their comrades as they speak about their war experiences. At the end of the tour, visitors will learn the actual fate of their comrades.

Shopping and dining facilities are available at the museum. The Hardtack & Coffee Cafe serves sandwiches, salads, soups, pizza, snacks and light refreshments. Indoor seating is available for 54 people with additional patio seating available outside. The Civil War Store is one of the biggest and best of its kind, offering Civil War books, art, videos, attire and gifts for all ages.

Tudor Hall Plantation is the fully restored and furnished 1812 home of the Boisseau family, maternal ancestors of the Pamplin family. During the Petersburg Campaign, the house served as brigade headquarters for Confederate general Samuel McGowan. Tudor Hall's interpretation and furnishing focuses both on its role as a family domicile and as a military headquarters. In Tudor Hall's English Basement, the exhibit "A Land Worth Fighting For" discusses the South's agrarian system and its role in the Civil War.

Reconstructed outbuildings include a working kitchen and slavequarters. The nearby kitchen garden is a faithful reproduction of the home gardens of the 19th century.

The Battlefield Center serves as the high-tech introduction to the Petersburg Campaign of 1864-65 and the Breakthrough battle that occurred at Pamplin Historical Park on April 2, 1865. The Battlefield Center features dozens of original artifacts from the April 2, 1865 engagement including three flags, a fiber-optics battle map, interactive computer displays and the Breakthrough Theater, a dramatic surround-sound presentation outlining the April 2nd Breakthrough. A Children's Discovery Tent provides a hands-on learning experience for kids, and the Park's auditorium is used for special events and lectures. The Battlefield Center is fully accessible and includes restrooms and vending service.

From the Battlefield Center, The Breakthrough Trail leads through the site of one of the Civil War's last battles. Here, in the early morning hours of April 2nd, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army broke through Robert E. Lee's Confederate defenses guarding Petersburg. Lee was compelled to evacuate Petersburg as well as the Confederate capitol, Richmond. Lee's westward retreat lead to his surrender one week later at Appomattox.

The Breakthrough Trail is laid out in optional sections ranging in walks of 15 minutes to an hour. Visitors walk in the footsteps of the Union assault, along the excellently preserved Confederate earthworks where the desperate fighting swirled and through a reconstructed Confederate winter encampment. Along the way, interpretive waysides tell of the military action as well as human interest stories.

At the recreated Military Encampment, costumed interpreters give living history demonstrations of soldier life in camp. Visitors can walk among the tents and talk to the soldiers as they go about their chores of cooking, cleaning equipment, mending clothing or any of the other myriad duties of a soldier in camp. Nearby, live artillery firings take place from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Civilian demonstrations take place at Tudor Hall, where the domestic life of the 1800s is brought to life. At the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, the Outside Demonstration Area serves as a venue for rifle firing, dismounted cavalry and music demonstrations.

Hours: Pamplin Historical Park is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day when the Park is closed. From June 14th until August 17th, the Park is open from 9am to 6pm.

Special Events: The Park hosts a series of outstanding special events every year. Civil War Weekend is the Park's marquee annual event. For two days the Park is a hive of activities including special living history presentations, Civil War music, lectures, civilian demonstrations, weapons, domestic crafts and much more.

Pamplin Park rings in the Holidays with its annual Civil War Christmas. Experience Christmas as the soldiers in the trenches and their families at home knew it. Period cooking and decoration demonstrations are complimented by traditional Christmas music. These special events are free with paid admission to the Park.

For information or tour bookings call Pamplin Park toll free at 1-877-PAMPLIN (726-7546).

 
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