September 14, 2011

Civil War Museums in the Atlanta Area

The ACWRRHS Annual meeting included visits to two Civil War Museums with significant railroad content. We visited the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History in Big Shanty, GA and the Atlanta Cyclorama and Museum on Saturday. On Sunday I visited the Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus.  

We also visited the Kennesaw Battlefield Visitors Center Museum, which has a good museum for that battle and the Atlanta campaign.

  The Southern Museum was much bigger than I expected and had a variety of interesting displays, including the locomotive General, which is their main highlight. The engine is not in its civil war appearance, as it was extensively rebuilt over the years. But it was still fun to see. 

The museum also featured a display from the Glover Manufacturing Company showing tools, patterns and products from the turn of the century industry. This was really the best part of the museum as the majority of the civil war display was somewhat derivative, except for the General. 
This lathe dated to 1865

The Texas is on display at the Cyclorama museum.
It is situated in a position that makes
photography difficult.
The  Atlanta Cyclorama was very impressive. It compares favorable to the Gettysburg cyclorama.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama appears fresher, is better lit and has a better light show animation. The Atlanta cyclorama is bigger and the 3D diorama is much more elaborate. To view the Atlanta cyclorama one sits on a rotating set of seats, while at Gettysburg, you are free to move about.

Both cycloramas are worth seeing and I enjoyed seeing this one. The museum had a nice selection of Rick Reeve oil paintings but was otherwise fairly modest.
A view showing 3D figures and how they blend into the painted cyclorama.  The 3D figures are different
scales to create forced-perspective.

Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus was the best of the four museums I visited. It had been moved from the location where I last visited several years ago to a bigger location nearer the river. The museum also expanded and included some very impressive full-scale dioramas including the USS Hartford, the USS Monitor and the CSS Albemarle.
The CSS Albemarle at a wharf. This was an impressive diorama.
Interior of the CSS Albemarle diorama
Admiral Farragut in his stateroom in the USS Hartford full size diorama.
Dahlgren gun collection outside the museum.
These models were used in the movie, "Ironclads." In the background is the recovered remains of the
 CSS Chattahoochee. That ironclad was burned in Columbus, GA before being completed. Columbus
was the last point on the Chattahoochee River that was navigable.

No comments:

Post a Comment