Getting the most from Gettysburg

A nation on the brink. Two armies on the move. The media on its toes. A president on alert and a town on guard. Freedom for all is on the line. No one and nothing escaped Gettysburg–just three days–untouched.

Three days made leaders into legends. Demanded courage under fire on the front lines and at home. Drew almost as many embedded reporters as the entire Korean War. Scoured and scarred the landscape, from town to country. Bewildered and killed thousands of animals. Turned girls into nurses. Forged a turning point in our bloodiest national argument. Inspired people here, across the country and around the world–then and forever.

Learn about those who lived and learned from just three days in July, 1863.

The fields that surround the small town of Gettysburg are vast in their landscape and stories. But it is the 6,000 acre Civil War military park, dedicated to the soldiers who fought here, that so many come to visit. There are lots of ways to visit the Gettysburg Battlefield, but one of the best is by bus, with a Licensed Battlefield Guide. Licensed Battlefield Guides train for years and must pass extensive tests administered by the National Park Service to qualify to give tours. And, on Saturdays from Sept. 2-Oct. 28, you can hop on a Double Decker bus and sit in the open air at the top while you learn about the battlefield and take in the bucolic scenery on a Sunset Tour. Best of all, you will arrive at Little Round Top—a critical spot in the battle—just in time to take in a beautiful sunset from the ridge.

Before your tour, you can spend some time at the Museum and Visitor Center. As the “Gateway to the Battlefield,” Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is the ideal first stop during your visit to Gettysburg. At this LEED-Gold facility, you will find:

The Film “A New Birth of Freedom” a half-hour film that will sweep you through the epic story of the battle of Gettysburg while illuminating the causes and outcomes of the battle within the context of American history.

The Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama Painting—reviews of the Museum and Visitor Center tell you that you cannot miss the Cyclorama. This oil painting is more than 100 years old, longer than a football field, taller than a 2-story building, and masterfully depicts a 360-degree view of Pickett’s Charge. These reviewers haven’t lied. It’s one of only two cycloramas in North America, so don’t miss it.

The Gettysburg Museum of The American Civil War, a nationally renowned museum, spans 12 galleries with short films and interactive displays features some of the most celebrated artifacts from the Battle of Gettysburg and dramatically tells the story of the three-day battle. If you’ve been to the park before, stop in the museum—there is always something more to discover.

You might arrive early and take a tour of Eisenhower National Historic Site—Ike and Mamie Eisenhower’s farm—and the only home the President and First Lady ever owned. Did you know that Ike and Mamie hosted many international dignitaries at their farm? People like Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union, President Charles de Gaulle of France, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain, and Governor Ronald Reagan of California.

When it’s time to refuel and pick up a t-shirt for a deserving relation, enjoy full-service lunch and all-day refreshments in our 1860s inspired Refreshment Saloon or Battleground Café, and a curated gift selection in our fully stocked Museum Bookstore.

From living historians and musical performances to exclusive rotating exhibits and ongoing NPS Ranger programs, there’s almost always something exciting going on at the visitor center and in the park. Make sure to check the event calendar before you come!

The Gettysburg Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic, educational organization operating in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and to educate the public about their significance. The Foundation provides NPS with funding to preserve the Gettysburg battlefield, care for its monuments, acquire historical artifacts and educate visitors.

Find out more and buy tickets at the website. The Museum and Visitor Center is:

Group Friendly

The Visitor Center is fully accessible. The film auditorium and Cyclorama auditorium are fully accessible. A wheelchair loan is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and is free of charge. Inquire at the National Park Service information desk for more information.

Available for Weddings/Receptions/Corporate Events

Explore the artifacts. Wonder at the Cyclorama. Understand our shared story.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.