The National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is the place to begin your exploration of historic Gettysburg. After watching a short orientation film, check out the Civil War artifacts on display, and marvel at the iconic 360-degree cyclorama painting of the Battle of Gettysburg.
As the gateway to Gettysburg, the National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is on the itineraries of many tours of the area. Some travelers stop by on a day trip from Washington DC before touring the battlefield, then finish the day at Cemetery Ridge, where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is a must-do for history buffs and students.
- The visitor center has an on-site café and Civil War–era refreshment saloon.
- Pick up a map and guide at the information desk. Audio tours and additional guidebooks are available for purchase in the bookstore.
- The visitor center’s attractions are accessible to everyone, and a loaner wheelchair is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
How to Get There
About a 1.5-hour drive from Washington DC, the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is located in rural southern Pennsylvania off State Route 97. It’s easily reached by car, by bus, or on a day trip tour from Washington DC that includes hotel pickup and drop-off. When to Get There
The museum and visitor center are open year-round from 8am to 6pm April through October, and from 9am to 5pm November through March. To see the Gettysburg battle reenactment, go on the first weekend of July. Otherwise, for fewer crowds (and to enjoy the region’s fall colors), plan an autumn visit. The site is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Beyond the Museum and Visitor Center
While films, exhibits, and artifacts give you an in-depth perspective of the Battle of Gettysburg, the experience isn’t complete without exploring the rest of the site. Depart the museum on a guided tour of the battlefield, and visit the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the David Wills House (a museum focusing on the aftermath of the battle), and the George Spangler Farm Civil War Field Hospital.