Getting Here

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

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  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum - The Fiery Trial
  • Civil War Museum - "Seeing the Elephant"
  • Civil War Museum - Veterans Memorial Gallery
  • Civil War Museum - an event
  • Civil War Museum - The Fiery Trial
  • Civil War Museum - The Fiery Trial
  • Civil War Museum - an event
  • Civil War Museum - at the Kenosha harbor
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Civil War Museum

(262) 653-4141

Hours:

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

Pricing:

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. 

See the 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 high-tech digital movie experience allows 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.

The museum also hosts SPARK! This monthly program is for people living with early to mid stages of memory loss and their care partners. Participants are engaged in lively conversations, storytelling, interactive exhibit experiences, object handling and other multi-sensory activities. Registration is free but required by calling 262-653-4141 or emailing spark@kenosha.org. The program is at 2 p.m. Topics include: November 18, 2016 – Caring for Civil War Soldiers; December 2016 – no program; January 20, 2017 – Animals in the Civil War; February 17, 2017 – A Soldier’s Kit; March 17, 2017 – Comparing Soldiers of WWI and Civil War.

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 Exhibit: From Civil War to Great War

January 28, 2017 – September 17, 2017

One war divided a nation, the other the world. Admission to this exhibit is free.

Civil War Museum Program: The Origins of the First World War: Europe 1914

January 29, 2017

Dr. Laura Gellott, Professor of History, Emeritus, UW-Parkside examines the immediate and long-term causes of World War I.

2017 African American Read-In

February 4, 2017

Featuring a performance of “Stories & Songs of African People” by Chicago storyteller Shanta. Adult and youth readers lend their voices to poetry, essays, short stories, and children’s books by African-American authors.

Civil War Museum Program: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Birthday Celebration

February 12, 2017

Celebrate Lincoln’s 208th birthday with crafts, games, stories and some of his favorite refreshments. At 1 p.m. meet President Lincoln and hear his famous Gettysburg Address.

Civil War Museum Program: Civil War Medical Weekend

February 18, 2017 - February 19, 2017

This annual event is a weekend full of living history and programs commemorating the role of physicians, nurses, and caregivers during the Civil War.

Civil War Museum Event: Civil War Expo and 19th Century Makers Day

March 11, 2017

Watch demos and buy goods from metalsmiths, beekeepers and other modern makers influenced by trades and crafts of the past. Visit with living history groups, heritage groups, and round tables.

Kenosha Public Museums Present: Spring Break Fun Days

April 18, 2017 - April 20, 2017

Enjoy free family programs at three museums: Kenosha Public Museum (5500 First Ave.) on the 18th, the Civil War Museum (5400 First Ave.) on the 19th, and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum (5608 Tenth Ave.) on the 20th.

Civil War Museum Program: Home Front Seminar

April 29, 2017

Learn more about the Civil War time period and what happened at the home front while the soldiers were away at war.

Civil War Museum Program: Women in History Tea

May 13, 2017

Join historical interpreters at this event. Advance registration is required.

Train Extravaganza Weekend

May 20, 2017 – May 21, 2017

All makes of model trains on display throughout the Kenosha Public Museum (5500 First Ave.) and Civil War Museum (5400 First Ave.). Free.