Gettysburg visitors and residents will soon have a new, family-friendly attraction to explore when the Gettysburg Foundation opens the Children of Gettysburg 1863 on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at the former Rupp House History Center.
The interactive adventure for young historians, Children of Gettysburg 1863 provides young visitors with a hands-on history experience in Gettysburg through the stories of the children, teens and young adults who lived here during and after the Battle of Gettysburg.
“We are excited to introduce the region and visitors to the Children of Gettysburg 1863 experience,” said Gettysburg Foundation President and CEO Wayne Motts. “It is truly a family attraction and one we are proud to unveil in promoting life-long learning and love for history.”
Designed for families and children (grades K-5), the interactive adventure takes families on a journey through galleries such as Growing Up in Gettysburg, The Soldiers are Coming, Surviving the Battle and Remembering Gettysburg. The interactive exhibits and experiences provide a history-based setting for creativity, discovery and learning.
“This new experience is not your typical museum,” said Bethany Yingling, Children of Gettysburg 1863 Manager. “It is an engaging, interactive adventure where young visitors can play the drum, find a place to hide during the battle, lift the soldier’s equipment to feel the weight of the pack they carried and deliver the Gettysburg Address. It’s a fun, history-based experience, and of course, there is still a scavenger hunt,” added Yingling.
Located at 451 Baltimore Street in downtown Gettysburg, Children of Gettysburg 1863 opens following a complete interior renovation of the ground floor. The home of John and Caroline Rupp and their six children during the battle, the house previously provided visitors with a look at civilian life during the battle. The building will now be the permanent home of Children of Gettysburg 1863.
Children of Gettysburg 1863 – Grand Opening, Sept. 4, 2021
A ribbon cutting will be held on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 9 a.m. in the side yard of Children of Gettysburg 1863 prior to opening its doors for visitors, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Young visitors to Children of Gettysburg 1863 can participate in the story scavenger hunt. The Carlisle Brass Band will be on-site in the side yard performing Civil War era music. Guests will have the opportunity to interact with living historians from Officers for The Union and Ladies for The Union in the side yard from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and again for a special Courtyard Chat at 8 p.m.
A brass band extension of the Carlisle Town Band, the Carlisle Brass Band consists of members of all ages, extending the 19th century brass band tradition into the 21st century.
A living history organization, Officers for The Union portray officers who commanded and fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. Together in a ‘ladies salon’ setting, Ladies for The Union demonstrate various home craft skills of the era, including bobbin lace, hand sewing, quilting, the making of band boxes, home medical remedies and procedures, and children’s toys. Ladies for The Union discuss the importance of the ‘home front’ during the Civil War – giving and sending support and aid to the soldiers, as well as how the war affected families and communities. Officers for The Union present an informal talk on their roles prior to, during and after the battle in the evening’s Courtyard Chat. From audience driven questions, each officer will discuss his life and career during the Civil War and elements of his personal life prior to and after the war.
The new adventure will be open daily 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. beginning Saturday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 (Remembrance Day weekend). From Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, through March 31, 2022, the museum will open Thursday through Sunday, Noon until 5 p.m.
Children of Gettysburg 1863 is currently free for children/youth ages 12 and younger with a ticketed adult. Adult tickets (ages 13 and older) are available to purchase online at GettysburgFoundation.org, by calling 877-874-2478, at the ticket counter inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center and on-site at Children of Gettysburg 1863. Living history presentations and Courtyard Chats are offered free of charge.
In addition to supporting its mission of education and preservation, the Gettysburg Foundation believes the new children’s history museum will provide a unique, family-friendly opportunity for visitors and area residents, as well as an educational venue for school groups.
“Gettysburg has always been a must-see destination for enthusiasts, scholars and tourists,” said Yingling. “We are grateful for the opportunity to add ‘young historians’ to that list.”