Civil War Museum

Civil War Museum
inside Fiery Trial Exhibit at Civil War Museum
Seeing the Elephant film at Civil War Museum
inside Fiery Trial Exhibit at Civil War Museum
inside Fiery Trial Exhibit at Civil War Museum
exterior of Civil War Museum with reenactors

***This museum re-opened July 6, 2020. Learn about its temporary hours, visitor policies during this COVID-19 pandemic, which interactive exhibits will be temporarily closed, museum cleaning procedures, and more here. Also, the museum's Facebook page is a great place to engage.***

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 are 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 free 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.

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

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.



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VIRTUAL Lecture Ive Heard of Her

March 18, 2021, April 15, 2021, May 20, 2021, June 17, 2021


March 19, 2021, April 16, 2021, May 21, 2021, June 18, 2021


Seeing the Elephant - at the Civil War Museum

Seeing the Elephant is the term Civil War soldiers used to say they saw battle. The new high-tech digital movie experience in The Fiery Trial will allow visitors a glimpse at "the Elephant."

Kenosha Public Museums

The Kenosha Public Museums campus is comprised of 3 museums that are open to the public. The Dinosaur Discovery Museum, the Kenosha Public Museum and the Civil War Museum.

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