Getting Here

The Electric Streetcar links the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, and Civil War Museum.

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Visitor Guide
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  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum - "Seeing the Elephant"
  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum - at the Kenosha harbor
  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum - Veterans Memorial Gallery

Civil War Museum

(262) 653-4141


Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 12-5 p.m. Closed holidays.


Fiery Trial (main exhibit) Admission: $9. Kenosha City and Town of Somers residents – $5. Friends of the Museums members – Free. Youth ages 15 and under, accompanied by an adult – Free.

The Civil War Museum opened in 2008 and focuses on the contributions of the Upper Middle West – Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, and Michigan – to the Civil War. These states played a vital role by providing troops and supplies to the cause, even though no battles were fought in this region. The exhibits concentrate on personal stories of people from all walks of life and circumstance. Men, women and children from various ethnic backgrounds experienced life during and after the war in different ways. It is through these unique stories that the museum visitor learns about the causes and effects of the Civil War and its impact on the region.

The Veterans Memorial Gallery honors all U.S. veterans and soldiers from the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts.

Enjoy the gift shop and free programs for adults and families. Classes and workshops offered, including genealogy workshops.

Adult and school group tours welcomed. Facility rentals available. Plenty of free parking.

Nominal admission to the main exhibit which is The Fiery Trial  – Friends members free. 

*****NEW: Civil War Museum Movie: Seeing the Elephant in The Fiery Trial exhibit.*****

“Seeing the Elephant” is the term Civil War soldiers used to say they saw battle. The new high-tech digital movie experience will allow visitors a glimpse at “the Elephant.” One of just a handful of venues nationwide using 360 degree movie technology, the Civil War Museum movie focuses on the personal experiences and accounts of citizen soldiers. Using letters, journals and diaries, the script follows several soldiers as they leave home and hearth, train with their troops, face battle together and ultimately deal with the consequences of war. “This poignant 10-minute film tells a story about the Civil War but it is also a tribute to all soldiers and veterans, as it tells the story of the ultimate life-changing experience of war, for the soldier and for the country,” comments Dan Joyce, Kenosha Public Museums Director.

Over 200 people, including actors, reenactors, film crew, technical and historical advisers and Museum staff, gathered at Old World Wisconsin (Eagle, WI) for five days in June 2013 to film Seeing the Elephant. The centerpiece of the Fiery Trial exhibit, the film gives visitors an historically authentic and accurate portrayal of Civil War battle, although not a specific, actual battle. Historical photos and special visual and sound effects augment the reenactment of battle. The Civil War Museum is grateful to nationally recognized broadcast journalist Bill Kurtis for lending his voice as narrator of the film.

The high tech film encircles viewers and thrusts them into the middle of a Civil War battle. An 11-foot 360° screen, visual and sound effects, and ground motion enhance the experience. The film typically plays once every hour, on the hour.

Note: The Civil War Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, and Dinosaur Discovery Museum make up the Kenosha Public Museums.


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Civil War Museum Program: The Civil War Amendments Discussion Group

October 7, 2015 and October 21, 2015

Through discussion and historical documents, discover the extent to which the Civil War Amendments (also known as Reconstruction Amendments) have contributed to freedom and liberty in the U.S.

Civil War Museum Exhibit: Hollywood Presents The Civil War and Post-Civil War Westward Expansion

September 12, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Original movie posters, lobby cards, inserts and window cards of famous Westerns from 1939-1969, including Gone With the Wind, Horse Soldiers, The Searchers, True Grit and more.

Civil War Museum Program: John Brown: The Spark That Ignited the Civil War

October 9, 2015

Dennis Frye's discussion is part of the Second Friday Lunchbox Lecture Series. Free and open to the public.

Civil War Movie Night Presents: The Searchers

October 16, 2015

Enjoy the classic film starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. $10 includes movie, popcorn and soda. Advance ticket purchase encouraged. 

Kenosha Public Museums Family Event: Boofest

October 24, 2015

Wear your costume and trick or treat at the Kenosha Public Museum (5500 First Ave.), Civil War Museum (5400 First Ave.), and Dinosaur Discovery Museum (5608 Tenth Ave.). Activities also include:

Civil War Museum Program: The Civil War Amendments Lecture

October 28, 2015

Dr. Eric Pullin, Carthage College History Department, talks about the historical impact of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments on American society. Free and open to the public.

Civil War Museum Program: Hollywood and Civil War Medicine

November 4, 2015

Dr. Gordon Dammann shows clips from well-known films to illustrate what Hollywood got right and wrong. Cost: $15 ($10 for Friends of Museums members).

Civil War Museum Display: Remembering Our Fallen | Wisconsin

November 4, 2015 – November 12, 2015

A display of military and personal photos of Wisconsin’s fallen soldiers, 2001 – present.

Civil War Museum Program: Troops & T-Walls

November 7, 2015

Dr. Michael McBride, Zablocki VA Medical Center, discusses how U.S. troops stationed in Iraq decorated and incorporated the cement walls into their lives.

Civil War Museum Program: Soldiers and Veterans Commemorative Bricks Dedication

November 7, 2015

The brick terrace is near the west entrance of the Civil War Museum, adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Gallery.

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