The new Gettysburg Heritage Center, formerly the American Civil War Wax Museum, will open its doors to the community December 20 – 31 for a free preview. The Gettysburg Heritage Center has undergone major renovations throughout the year, and is eager to show local residents the transformation. The new facility offers visitors a different perspective of the town of Gettysburg through the eyes of the civilians that lived during the three-day battle.
Upon entering the Heritage Center, visitors will find it open and welcoming. Small town facades, such as a train station, general store, and a theater marquee greet guests. The exhibit space takes visitors back to the town of Gettysburg on the eve of the battle, highlighting daily life for those who called it home. The reality of war, and the aftermath of the battle come to life with the use of 3-D programming and authentic displays, including the hearse that transported President Lincoln in Washington D.C. after his death. Interactive displays, and historical artifacts and documents will be added in the spring of 2015 to enhance the experience. The tour concludes with the Civil War Trust’s award-winning Battle of Gettysburg: Animated Map; a high-definition, 20-minute movie that gives an excellent overview of the three day battle.
“Those who have seen our new exhibit often comment that there is nothing else like it,” explains Gettysburg Heritage Center President Tammy Myers. “Visitors will learn about the town, the people, and hear their stories”.
Renovations to the facility began in January 2014, bringing together several members of the community and local businesses. Early in the developmental phase, Main Street Gettysburg facilitated the strategic planning process for the property. Sharrah Design Group of Gettysburg oversaw the project, with much of the work being done by local contractors such as Mark Austin Building and Remodeling, Ketterman Electric, A/V Solutions, Graphcom, Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith, Licensed Town Guide Joanne Lewis, and graphic artist Steven Stanley to name a few. The Civil War Trust, the Center of Civil War photography and the Adams County Historical Society also collaborated in the creation of the new exhibit.
“What makes the Heritage Center unique is that we’re not doing this alone,” explains Myers. “We’re not a museum or exhibit design firm, but by collaborating with the right people, we’ve created an experience that is engaging, educational, and entertaining.”
The community preview is open to the public. Residents are invited to bring family and friends to tour the exhibit. Hours of operation are daily, 9 am – 5 pm with the last entrance time at 4:15 pm. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve operating hours are 9 am – 1 pm with the last entrance at 12:15 pm. The Heritage Center is closed Christmas Day.
The Gettysburg Heritage Center is located at 297 Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg, PA 17325. Visit www.GettysburgMuseum.com for more information, or call 717-334-6245.