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