What began in
1991 as an effort to preserve a threatened Civil War battlefield near Petersburg,
Virginia, has evolved into one of America’s finest history and heritage
Battlefield Center was the original interpretive center
for "Pamplin Park Civil War Site."
Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War
Soldier is a 424-acre historical campus that features world-class
museums, antebellum homes, a historic Civil War battlefield, a slave
life exhibit, educational programs and special events. It has been
called “the new crown jewel of Civil War sites in America”
by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson of Princeton
In the early 1990’s, a tract of land in Dinwiddie County, Virginia,
became available for purchase. The tract included a 3/4 mile stretch
of well-preserved Civil War earthworks constructed by Confederate
troops of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. It
was on this site on April 2, 1865 that troops of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s
Army of the Potomac broke through Lee’s defensive line, ending
the nine-month campaign of Petersburg and setting in motion the events
leading to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House one week
historic battlefield of April 2, 1865, site of "The
A Civil War battlefield preservation
group alerted Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., a businessman and philanthropist
living in Portland, Oregon, that the land, which had belonged to
his ancestors during the Civil War, could be purchased and preserved.
Dr. Pamplin operates the R.B. Pamplin Corporation, a Fortune 400
company. He manages the interests of the R.B. Pamplin Foundation,
which provides significant funding for charitable and educational
Dr. Pamplin saw the purchase of his ancestral lands as not only
an opportunity to preserve but also to educate. The acreage was
acquired and an interpretive center was constructed on the site.
Soon thereafter, the Pamplin Foundation purchased an adjacent parcel
that contained Tudor Hall, the plantation home of the Pamplins'
ancestors. With these elements in place, Pamplin Park Civil War
Site was opened in 1994.
Opening of The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier,
the facility was an outstanding interpretive site as it existed,
Dr. Pamplin envisioned a much more ambitious scenario, one which
would place the enterprise among the nation’s elite historical
attractions. A blue-ribbon team of museum professionals and historians
was assembled and plans were created to expand the Park and add a
world-class museum along with complete educational and interpretive
programs. That vision became a reality on Memorial Day Weekend, 1999,
with the opening of The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier,
a 25,000 square-foot, $13 million, state-of-the-art facility. Boasting
363-acres, the Park changed its name to Pamplin Historical Park & The
National Museum of the Civil War Soldier.
February 2002 marked the grand
opening of The Banks House, where Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant made his
headquarters on April 2, 1865. In March 2005 Pamplin Historical Park
opened the Civil War Adventure Camp, America’s first permanent
overnight Civil War immersion experience, at the Hart Farm. Daytime
experiences are now available. In April 2005 the Park debuted "War
So Terrible," a Civil War combat film made exclusively for Pamplin
Historical Park. Later that year, the Park added a livestock barn,
tobacco curing shed, and an Education Center with a theater and classrooms.
In May 2008 Pamplin Historical Park added Gulf Coast Sheep to
the Tudor Hall Barn. In April 2011 the Park opened a new 3-D photography exhbiit in the Battlefield Center on the Petersburg Campaign. In March 2012, the Park opened the Jones Farm Loop Trail to give public access to the Civil War Trust property with fortifications from the March 25, 1865 Battle of Jones Farm. The Park opened the redesigned Battlefield Center exhibits in April 2013.