August 6 – African-American Civil War Museum (ONP #218)

with No Comments

And sometimes, you just feel like a complete idiot. . .

For example, when you discover that this amazing little museum has existed for 20 years (That’s two decades. . . or one score in Gettysburg Address language!) only half a mile from your house, and you didn’t even know about it!

I only stumbled upon the African-American Civil War Museum when I got lost last week looking for a New Place ended up at 9-1/2 Street NW. As I looped back to my car, I saw the museum’s entry gate with its large sign and did a double take. I then went home and googled the museum just to make sure it was real because I couldn’t believe all the times I must have walked, driven or bicycled right past it and not seen it. I mean, I did know about the memorial to African American Civil War soldiers across the street at the Metro station entrance, but I had never seen the museum.

To my defense, the museum is a bit tucked away, behind a large abandoned brick school house. This gives it the opportunity for an arched gateway and a dramatic entrance down a side alley with banners and posters depicting America’s African-American soldiers and their contribution.

The people are super friendly here, take time to explain the museum to you, and wear snazzy Civil War costumes.  There’s a great video and lots of detail about particular soldiers and battles. The best thing: This 19th Century American History major at Gettysburg College actually learned things about the Civil War that I never knew before about the role of the Black soldiers in freeing themselves.  Highly recommended. Go!