• Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum
  • Civil War Museum - Veterans Memorial Gallery
  • Located on the Lake Michigan shore

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.


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Civil War Museum Exhibit: House Divided: Illinois and the Civil War

April 19, 2014 – October 19, 2014

Explore the divisions among the people of Illinois before and during the war, and the motivation of 250,000 citizen soldiers who came together to support the federal cause.  

Civil War Museum Program: Living History: 36th Illinois

April 26, 2014

Watch reenactors reenact their appearances during the war, and see a collection of artifacts from the original 36th Illinois including medals, images and personal effects. Free and open to the public.

Civil War Museum Program: The Illinois Home Front During the Civil War

April 26, 2014

Dr. Theodore Karamanski of Loyola University will discuss the political and social divisions that roiled Illinois during the war. Free and open to the public.

Civil War Museum Cooking Workshop: Chinese Meat Pie

April 27, 2014

Ying Stoller teaches how to make a Chinese meat pie from scratch with a side of Korean noodle salad and soy sauce-based dressing. 

Civil War Museum Cooking Class: Peruvian Cuisine

May 4, 2014

As part of the immigrant experience, many new foods with different vegetables, fruits, meats, herbs and spices have been introduced to the American palette. New Peruvian immigrant Victor Olano will introduce some of his native foods.

Civil War Museum Program: The 55th Illinois at Vicksburg

May 9, 2014

Dr. Laurence Schiller describes the actions of the IL 55th, under the overall command of Brigadier General William T. Sherman, during the Vicksburg Campaign and gives a picture of the tensions and problems of the civilian soldiers who made up the regiment.

Civil War Museum Program: Living History Saturday: A Soldier's Life

May 17, 2014

Check out these family friendly reenactors in character as Civil War soldiers. Ask them about their gear, Civil War battles and what it took to be a Civil War soldier.

Civil War Museum Workshop: Grant vs. Lee

May 17, 2014

Virginiain 1864 saw Robert E. Lee face off against U.S. Grant in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna and Cold Harbor.

Train Extravaganza Weekend

May 31, 2014 – June 1, 2014

All makes of model trains on display at the Kenosha Public Museum (5500 First Ave.) and Civil War Museum (5400 First Ave.). This free exhibit is sponsored by the Kenosha Garden Railroad Society. Additional train programming at the Civil War Museum: 

Salute to Freedom

June 21, 2014

Featuring an 1864 Encampment and Soldiers Aid Fair. This is the sixth annual event, which is free and for all ages.