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Touring the Civil War Veterans Museum

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 10:53 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 10:57 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - If you are visiting Nebraska City, you’ll want to take time to stop at a unique museum housed inside a historic G.A.R. Building.

We talked with Sean Chance, who is with the Civil War Veterans Museum in Nebraska City. The fact that it’s inside a G.A.R. building makes it especially interesting. “The G.A.R. stands for the Grand Army of the Republic, and it was formed shortly after the Civil War,” Chance said. “The significance is this building is one of four in Nebraska still standing. There were several built, about 100. These memorial halls were places where members would meet and discuss how to help veterans. Funerals and other gatherings were held here as well.”

Chance says the G.A.R. building makes for a rare backdrop for a Civil War museum. “We just recently did a major renovation,” Chance said. “We refurbished all of the panels you see on the walls. We went with more narrative, so when people came in, they could learn more, without just seeing a lot of ‘stuff’. We have artifacts that are still out, including medical wartime technology, games the soldiers would play, and other items. Nebraska actually had a little over 1,000 soldiers enlisted. This was before Nebraska was a state, so that makes it interesting. We had about 436 people from Nebraska City that had joined the war fight.”

With a visit to the museum, you’ll get a good overview of the Civil War, from beginning to end. “We try to cover it all,” Chance said. “We start with what was going on before the Civil War. Then we go chronologically around the room so you get a well-rounded view of the events. There is an interactive area for kids where they can dress up like soldiers. They can play games. They can even hold a rifle that is rendered inactive, to get an idea of what it might have been like to carry such a rifle around while in battle.”

Chance says having a museum like this is important. “A lot of people don’t think we were in the war, and we were,” Chance said. “Nebraska soldiers fought in some major outbreaks.” Chance says it’s good to bring this kind of rich heritage to the attention of visitors. If you’d like to check out the museum, it’s located at 910 1st Corso in Nebraska City, and the phone number there is (402) 873-4018.

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