The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, located in Kennesaw, Ga., offers educational opportunities for students of all ages.
Through tours and programs that can be tailored to meet teachers’ needs, the museum’s offerings reinforce classroom learning by connecting information from textbooks and lesson plans with rare artifacts.
“The hands-on interaction with artifacts supports in-class work and helps students retain more information,” said Dena Bush, director of operations for the Southern Museum. “Tours and programs can be tailored to any age — early education, grade school, high school and college students — and field trips meet Georgia state curriculum standards.”
The centerpiece of the Southern Museum is the General, a historic locomotive that James J. Andrews and a group of Union spies stole in April 1862 — an event known as the Andrews Raid or the Great Locomotive Chase. On display a few feet away from the historic engine is one of the first Medals of Honor ever awarded, given to Sgt. John M. Scott for his participation in the Andrews Raid.
“The best way to bring history to life is by exploring the historic events and stories both in and out of the classroom,” said Ken Hoo, early childhood educator at the Southern Museum. “With our exhibits and programming, we want to spur thoughtful conversation to help teachers and students alike understand, contextualize and learn from the past.”
Other permanent exhibits include:
- The “Glover Machine Works: Casting a New South” exhibit features the only fully restored belt-driven locomotive assembly line in the country. The original Glover Machine Works was located in nearby Marietta, Ga., and helped rebuild the South after the Civil War.
- The 8,000-square-foot Jolley Education Center is home to many of the museum’s educational programs for children and parents. Opened in 2008, the Education Center offers a range of engaging and interactive learning stations for families to explore and is home to Georgia’s French Gratitude Train, a gift from the French following World War II.
- The “Railroads: Lifelines of the Civil War” exhibit showcases the importance of railroads during the Civil War. The exhibit usesa mix of photographs and artifacts to help tell the story.
To help teachers and students take a close-up view of history, the Southern Museum has several field trip options that feature interactive exhibits and lesson plans. All programs can be tailored for age appropriateness and customized to meet specific school requirements.
Museum Highlights Tour
In the most comprehensive tour, students explore the permanent exhibits at the Southern Museum and learn about the strategic and economic importance of railroads during the Civil War and afterwards.
Students learn about the significance of industry in the years leading up to, during and following the Civil War as they become acquainted with the function of railroads and other industries in the redevelopment of the economic and social structure of the New South beginning with Reconstruction and into the 20th century.
A Nation Divided
Investigate the causes and consequences of our divided nation while touring galleries that display examples of original weapons, civilian items, uniforms, and much more. Guides discuss the life of a Civil War soldier and present a firearms demonstration.
The museum also offers add-ons such as a walking tour of Kennesaw for students at no extra charge. For more information, visit southernmuseum.org.