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New Civil War museum to open July 1 in Gettysburg

Courtesy Seminary Ridge Museum

GETTYSBURG, Pennsylvannia — Gettysburg’s Seminary Ridge Museum, after undergoing a $15 million renovation on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, will open July 1 as part of the town’s Civil War 150th anniversary commemoration.

Union Gen. John Buford scouted the countryside during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg from the cupola of the building, known at the time as Old Dorm, which was also used as both a Union and Confederate hospital after the fighting.

The Seminary Ridge Museum will feature exhibits and artifacts highlighting the stories of soldiers, nurses and the residents of Old Dorm, who were forced to flee into the Gettysburg countryside during the three-day battle.

Additionally, the facility will include stories on African-Americans who sought freedom in the Gettysburg area before and during the war.

The museum will occupy 20,000 square feet on four floors of the 1832 National Historic Landmark building. The first floor will have an orientation theater, a gift shop and a revolving exhibition gallery.

The museum’s main exhibit, “Voices of Duty and Devotion,” begins on the fourth floor with the story of the fighting on Seminary Ridge. The third floor focuses on Civil War medicine, and the second floor features exhibits and artifacts that explain the religious and racial issues that impacted the war and its beginnings.

In addition to the museum, the project includes an outdoor walking trail with historical wayside markers detailing the history of the campus and how it found itself in the middle of fighting during the Battle of Gettysburg.