Looking for what to do in Gettysburg? As you all know, we spent some time heading out to the east coast earlier this month. One of our first spots we stopped in was Gettysburg. The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center is a must stop. This ended up being one of our favorite parts of our trip! That being said, here are 5 things you must do while at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center:
- George Spangler Farm Civil War Field Hospital site
- Watch the film “A New Birth of Freedom”
- Cyclorama painting of Pickett’s Charge
- Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War
- Licensed Battlefield Guide car tour
George Spangler Farm Civil War Field Hospital site
June 9 through August 13 of this year, the Gettysburg Foundation opened the historic George Spangler Farm Civil War Field Hospital site. Wow, is all I can say. Now, it is a preserved historic site, but with the excellent guides there, you can imagine what it was like in 1863.
We were transported back to July and August of 1863 as we walked in the footsteps of those who experienced the carnage left from the aftermath of the battle of Gettysburg.
The George Spangler Farm is one of the best examples of a Civil War field hospital site on the battlefield today, where upwards of 1,900 men, including Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead, were treated for wounds both minor and fatal.
Most of the buildings that you see in the first section of this post were there during the Civil War, with the exception of the Smokehouse. There have been efforts to preserve and restore the buildings!
When we arrived on site, we were all given a person. That’s who we were while we were on the farm.
Outside we learned what the doctors went through. We learned about what tools they had and what medical procedures they had at the beginning of the war vs. the end. (Yes, things changed drastically during the war).
Can you imagine being worked on with these items?
We also learned what the soldiers went through. Did you know that if you were hit in the gut area that you were pretty much a goner?
This photo shows some of the things pulled out of the soldiers at the time! Crazy, right?
Watch the film “A New Birth of Freedom”
Everything you thought you knew about the Civil War (or at least it was for me) was wrong. It was about economics as much as it was about freeing the slaves! This film gives you a great understanding of the “whys” of the war.
Cyclorama painting of Pickett’s Charge
Pickett’s Charge was the climactic Confederate attack on the Union forces during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. It is 360° cylindrical painting and is awe inspiring. You can stand anywhere in the room, and you get a different view. It is 42 feet high and 377 feet long. It has been restored to its originally glory, and gives you true glimpse into the scale of the battle.
Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War
We next stopped at the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. If it was up to Bill, he would have spent all day just in here! You learned about every step of the battle in and around Gettysburg.
Licensed Battlefield Guide car tour
We ended our day with a Licensed Battlefield Guide car tour. This is why we came to Gettysburg — my best friend’s parents had one of these tours over 20 years ago and highly recommended it. I also recommend it. You get a one on one tour guide who can answer all your questions. He/she drives you around Gettysburg, and you get a way more in depth history of what exactly went down. A few shots I got during our tour:
We could have spent days here (which is what I recommend if you come to Gettysburg!). There’s so much history to learn that wasn’t taught in our history classes. I’m glad my kids got a great foundation of what really happened in the Civil War and how it effected a town. One of the facts that still floors me is that the people of Gettysburg understood that the battle fought here was important and started buying up the land almost immediately to save it. To have that kind of foresight absolutely amazes me. It also preserved so much of this town for us to come and enjoy. Where else can you walk down the street and see buildings with bullet marks on it or a cannon ball still in it?
What part of our Gettysburg trip do you think you’d like most? Have you been to Gettysburg?