Gettysburg Wax Museum – Part 1
Since it opened in April 1962, the Gettysburg Wax Museum (also now known as the American Civil War Museum) is one of the most enduring tourist attractions along the Steinwehr Avenue strip (Business 15) between the borough of Gettysburg and the battlefield. The museum annually hosts thousands of tourists from all over the world. At only $4 a person with AAA discount rates, it’s still a relative bargain for most money-conscious visitors.
Cars from all over the United States fill the parking lot on a typical summer weekend during operating hours. The wax museum, its associated gift shop, and the front yard with its weekend living history encampments offer a variety of entertainment and shopping options.
Here is a selection of photos I took today, Sunday, June 12, on a visit with some of my family members.
Slavery, long a key to the South’s burgeoning cotton industry, was among the factors that sparked the Civil War. Abolitionists held considerable sway in parts of the North. The museum’s displays are roughly in chronological order, and include several related to slavery, the Underground Railroad, and John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.
The sets and backgrounds for the tableaux are varied and interesting. Some of the antique furnishings are quite nice. There are 35 separate scenes depicted, ranging from military officers in various settings to civilians, slaves, and multiple displays on Abraham Lincoln.
The museum was originally known as the National Civil War Wax Museum.
More that 300 life-size wax figures are on display. More than 8 million people have walked through the museum since WWII Polish immigrant C. M. Uberman established it back in 1962 while John F. Kennedy was President and the United States was commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Civil War.
Author Frank Waud sketched scores of images of the Civil War, including several at the Gettysburg Battlefield.
Jefferson Davis (right) proved to be a controversial president for the Confederate States of America.
The normal price to enter the Gettysburg Wax Museum is $6.50 for adults, $3.50 for children over the age of 6, and FREE for kids 5 and under. AAA and other discounts help reduce the admission fees, so if you plan a visit, be sure to bring your AAA card with you!
Among the celebrities who have visited the Wax Museum / Gettysburg Gift Center are Firt Lady Mamie Eisenhower, Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, popular former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, actor John Schneider of Dukes of Hazard fame, and best-selling author Jeff Shaara.
If you go:
Gettysburg Wax Museum is part of a complex known as the American Civil War Museum Complex, located at 297 Steinwehr Avenue. The well stocked gift shop offers a large selection of Gettysburg and Civil War-related books, T-shirts, pewter statuettes, and a myriad of other collectibles and souvenirs. Plan on an hour to see the Wax Museum and do a little shopping. Plan some extra time to wander around the living history encampments and mingle with the reenactors (often some good photo ops!).
Website: click here.