Skip to Content

We are the Smithsonian in your Neighborhood!

We are the Smithsonian
in Your Neighborhood

The General Locomotive The Southern Museum

Southern Museum Blog

runKennesaw Museum Foundation Lacing Up for Annual 5K on September 6

The Kennesaw Museum Foundation is lacing up its running shoes and sprinting towards the 6th Annual Great Locomotive Chase 5K.

This year’s event, to be held Sept. 6 in downtown Kennesaw, coincides with the Taste of Kennesaw and is a one of the six Kennesaw Grand Prix Series races. All proceeds from the 5K support the educational and outreach programs of the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History.

Runners may register at the Southern Museum, at any Big Peach Running Co. store or online at or

Registration is $25 for the 5K and $15 for the 1-Mile Fun Run until August 26. Late registration (postmarked after Aug 26) is $30 or $35 for runners that register on the day of the race. The corresponding Tot Trot is free. Runners who register the day of race are not guaranteed a race shirt.

Early pick-up of race packets, which include a race shirt, numbered bib and free give-away items, will be held at Big Peach Running Co. in Kennesaw on Wednesday, Sept. 3 and Thursday, Sept. 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. Race day registration will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. at Kennesaw First Baptist Church. The 1-Mile Fun Run will begin at 7:30 a.m., the 5K will start at 8 a.m. in front of the church and the Tot Trot will start in front of the Big Shanty Barber Shop at 8:55 a.m.

The starting line for the 5K will be located in front of the Kennesaw First Baptist Church. On the relatively flat, shady race route, runners will head north on Main Street to Swift-Cantrell Park, loop through the park, continue toward downtown Kennesaw and finish near the intersection of Main and Cherokee streets. This certified course is professionally timed.

Following the race, awards will be presented to the top three in all age groups, as well as a cash prize to top male and female racers.

For more information about running or volunteering, please contact the Kennesaw Museum Foundation at or 770.427.2117 ext. 3174.


Posted in Southern Museum News | Leave a comment

Southern Museum Wraps Up Successful Second Annual Railroad Rendezvous

More than 600 people turned out Saturday for the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History’s second annual Railroad Rendezvous event.

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

During the event, museum visitors were able to climb aboard the General locomotive, experience a hobo jungle, play outdoor games and race slot cars.

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

“Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our second annual Railroad Rendezvous event,” said Sara Wilson, events coordinator for the Southern Museum. “We are overwhelmed with excitement on the attendance for the event and hope it continues to grow year after year.”

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

To view photos from Saturday’s event, visit Guests are invited to post their photos from the event to the Southern Museum’s Facebook page using #RailroadRendezvous.

Next up on the Southern Museum events calendar – the Kennesaw Museum Foundation is lacing up its running shoes and sprinting towards the 6th Annual Great Locomotive Chase 5K on Sept. 6. Race details can be found at

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

For more information about the Southern Museum, call (770) 427-2117, visit or follow the museum at

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Railroad Rendezvous 2014

Posted in Southern Museum News | Leave a comment

general_5407-480Is the General still a functioning locomotive?


One of the things our visitors seem to always want to know is whether the General is still a functioning locomotive.

The answer to that is…it’s complicated!

Technically, the engine was operable when it was donated to the original Big Shanty Museum in 1972, but a lot of time has passed since then. The General has now stood in the same spot for 42 years, so we can only imagine how stiff its moving parts are. Also, steam engines require a lot of steam pressure to operate (120 lbs per square inch in the General’s case); if we tried putting the engine’s boiler under that much pressure after all these years, the result would likely be disastrous.

The General is a large, powerful, and imposing locomotive, so it’s easy to forget that it’s still an artifact that’s now 159 years old.  It might be fun to imagine firing it up one more time, but history would almost certainly be destroyed if anyone ever tried it.

Posted in Jonathan Scott's Blog, Southern Museum News | Leave a comment

DSC_9217-480Southern Museum to Host Second Annual Railroad Rendezvous on July 26

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History will celebrate railroads and their unique history during the second annual Railroad Rendezvous this July.

The family-friendly event, scheduled from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on July 26, will feature a range of indoor and outdoor events, including operating model train layouts, a variety of games and a hobo jungle. Attendees will also have the rare chance to climb aboard the General locomotive (for a separate fee) made famous during the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase.

“Kids and train buffs of all ages will have plenty of opportunities to show their love of trains during our second annual Railroad Rendezvous,” said Kelly Briscoe of the Southern Museum. “Everyone enjoyed watching model trains and pretending to be a hobo during last year’s Railroad Rendezvous, and this year’s event promises to be even more enjoyable, especially with the rare opportunity to climb aboard the famous General locomotive.”

Events scheduled for Railroad Rendezvous include:

  • Hobo Jungle: Re-enactors will offer tales about life on the rails, teach Hobo language and help guests make their own bindle sack.
  • Operation Lifesaver: The non-profit organization will offer safety information and tours of its Operation Lifesaver Mobile Educational Exhibit.
  • Outdoor Games: Guests can participate in sack races, a ring toss and a bean bag toss.
  • Slot Cars: Attendees will have the opportunity to satiate their need for speed with a slot car track.
  • Train Layouts: G-scale and O-gauge model layouts will be on display specifically for Railroad Rendezvous.

In addition to the day’s special events, visitors can explore the Museum’s permanent exhibits to learn about the Great Locomotive Chase, one of the Civil War’s most thrilling episodes. The Museum also includes a full-scale replica of The Glover Machine Works, a locomotive factory in nearby Marietta that helped rebuild the South after the war.

Museum event admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children ages 4-12 and free for children three and under as well as Museum members. There is an additional fee of $5 for all guests 4 years and older to board the General Locomotive (including members). Coupons and discounts will not be accepted on the day of the event. The Museum is located at 2829 Cherokee Street in downtown Kennesaw (exit 273 on Interstate 75).

For more information and updates on Railroad Rendezvous, contact or call 770-427-2117 ext. 3058.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook (no reservation required to attend).

Posted in Southern Museum News | 1 Comment

Protected: Updated Photo Gallery: 2014 Descendants’ Day at the Southern Museum

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Photo Galleries | Enter your password to view comments.

csi1Southern Museum to Host Virginia’s Civil War HistoryMobile

Tweet This: The Southern Museum will host HistoryMobile on June 26. #Free admission! #history #cw150 #civilwar150 #georgia

The Southern Museum will host Virginia’s Civil War 150 HistoryMobile for a one-day visit on June 26 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibit, an initiative of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, will be located at Depot Park across the street from the museum and admission is free.

csi1The HistoryMobile exhibit will be followed at 7 pm by a lecture given by Michael Shaffer from The Civil War Center of Kennesaw State University. The Southern Museum will offer free admission during special late hours, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited to enjoy Shaffer’s lecture discussing the ‘Atlanta Campaign and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain’ and then view the museum’s new temporary exhibit ‘1864’ which commemorates the 150th anniversary.

A tractor-trailer 'museum on wheels’ that is filled with interactive exhibits and activities, the HistoryMobile uses immersive spaces and interactive exhibits to draw together stories of the Civil War and emancipation from the viewpoints of those who experienced it across Virginia — young and old, enslaved and free, soldier and civilian. The HistoryMobile crosses the state visiting museums, schools, and special events. Its tour began in July 2011, and since then it has made over 120 stops and attracted visitors from every state and a number of other countries.

The HistoryMobile was named a 2013 Leadership in History Award of Merit winner by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history. The Award of Merit is one of the nation’s most prestigious recognitions of achievement in state and local history.

More information on the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile and the initiatives of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission can be found at

For more information, call (770) 427-2117 ext. 3181, visit or follow the Museum at

Posted in Southern Museum News | Leave a comment

eliwhite0330-470Southern Museum Executive Director Banz Receives Eli White Award


Dr. Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, recently received the Eli White Award from the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard of Atlanta.

This annual award has been given since 1967 and is presented to a citizen of Georgia who has shown distinguished support for the military. Banz received it during a Friday, May 2 ceremony at the Southern Museum’s special “1864” exhibition opening.

“I am incredibly grateful to have received the Eli White Award,” said Banz. “Preserving history is my job but also my passion. I am proud to demonstrate support for the military both past and present and honor its contributions and importance. Recognition by this esteemed group is a true honor.”

More information on the Southern Museum is available by visiting, by calling (770) 427-2117 ext. 3058, or by following the Museum at

Posted in Southern Museum News | Leave a comment

Protected: Photo Gallery: 2014 Descendants’ Day at the Southern Museum

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Photo Galleries | Enter your password to view comments.

IMG_1376-470Family Donates 110-Year-Old Medal of Honor to Southern Museum


Descendants of a participant in the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase on Saturday donated a 110-year-old Medal of Honor to the Southern Museum.

The family also donated written accounts and personal belongings of Wilson W. Brown, who in 1862, was part of a group of Union soldiers who stole the General locomotive from Kennesaw as part of a daring bid to destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Brown was bestowed the Medal of Honor in 1863 for his participation in the Chase, also known as The Andrews’ Raid. The Medal his descendants donated on Saturday was a duplicate Brown received in 1904.

“We are honored to receive this rare Medal of Honor given to a true American hero,” said Dr. Richard Banz, executive director of the Southern Museum. “This Medal will be enshrined alongside other artifacts related to the Great Locomotive Chase and will help us continue telling the story of this remarkable event for generations to come.”

In addition to the Medal, the family donated a letter Brown received in 1906 from William A. Fuller Jr., the son of the Confederate conductor who famously pursued the Raiders from what is today Kennesaw north to Ringgold, Ga., where the Raid ended, and a handwritten account of the Raid that Brown penned in 1909; the manuscript has not been published in its entirety.

“Our family wanted to donate this cherished family artifact to the Southern Museum for many years, and we are proud it will be displayed just feet away from the General locomotive,” said Ed Ward, the great grandson of Brown. “We are gratified the Medal of Honor will be used to educate future generations about the Great Locomotive Chase, and the sacrifices so many made during the Civil War.”

The Brown Medal is the second Medal from a Raider the Museum has received. In 2012, the Medal awarded to Sgt. John M. Scott for his participation in the Raid was donated to the Museum.

For more information, visit or

Posted in Southern Museum News | 1 Comment

WWB-MOHA Conversation With Al Ward, the Oldest Living Descendant of Raider Wilson W. Brown

The descendants of Wilson W. Brown this weekend will donate a 110-year-old Medal of Honor to the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History.

1904 Medal Front-500In April 1862, Brown was one of The Andrews’ Raiders, a group of Union soldiers who stole the locomotive “General” and fled toward Chattanooga, Tenn., tearing up track, cutting telegraph wires and destroying bridges with the goal of destroying Confederate supply lines. Brown was the Engineer of the General on the day of the Raid and was selected for the raid specifically because of his previous railroad engineering experience.

While the Andrews’ Raid — also known as the Great Locomotive Chase — failed to achieve its main objective, the participants were the first to receive the Medal of Honor for their participation in the heroic endeavor.

Following the Chase, Brown, along with the other Raiders, was captured and imprisoned by Confederate soldiers, but eventually succeeded in a daring escape and made it on foot back to the Union lines after six months imprisonment in harsh conditions. In November 1862, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and later saw action at the Battle of Stones River in Middle Tennessee, at the Battle of Dug Gap near Dalton and at the Battle of Chickamauga, where he was severely wounded.

1904 Medal Back-500On Saturday, May 24, the Brown family will officially donate the replacement Medal of Honor Brown received in 1904.

The donation will culminate the Museum’s Descendants’ Weekend expected to be attended by more than 150 relatives of the 22 men who participated in the Chase. The Medal will complement one given to fellow Raider Sgt. John M. Scott in 1863. Scott’s descendants donated a Medal to the Southern Museum in 2012 to coincide with the sesquicentennial of the Raid.

Interestingly, Al Ward, the great grandson of Brown, saw the General in 1963 in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, as the locomotive made a trip through Ohio as part of the Raid’s centennial commemoration. The Southern Museum recently spoke with Ward about Brown and what it means to donate the Medal to the Museum; the following transcript of that conversation has been edited for length.

What does it mean to be related to Wilson Brown?

It significant to us that our forebear, Wilson W. Brown, was a volunteer in the Union Army and participated in the Raid without knowing at the time the details of what he was volunteering for. We think that’s significant. The family’s always been proud of that history. We do appreciate very much what he did for the country.

Why did the family decided to donate the Medal now?

It was the hope for many, many years … that we could do something along these general lines — to put it where the public could see it, appreciate it and perhaps other generations could become aware of some of the sacrifices that ordinary people made in extraordinary ways.

(After the older generation passed), we decided it was time after many years to place the medal in a museum where it could be preserved and where Wilson Brown’s story could be told and honored. So, that all led to the decision to find an appropriate place. We thought since the General was already housed in the Southern Museum that it would be fitting if the Medal earned by Great Grandfather Brown on April 12, 1862, could at last be placed within a stone’s throw of the locomotive itself.

What has the story as a whole meant to your family over the years?

I guess the story just signified what ordinary men can do when they are faced with extraordinary challenges. And, that’s not an original thought with me; that was a statement made by Admiral Bull Halsey in World War II when he was congratulated as being an extraordinary man. He said there are no extraordinary men; there are only ordinary men who by circumstances are called upon to do extraordinary things.

I’m sure that’s the way Grandpa Brown looked at it, and that’s the way the family looks at it. It was service above and beyond. A bunch of young guys, about 24 years old on average, went off 200 or so miles below enemy lines risking their lives for the sake of their country.

What do you hope people take away from seeing the Medal?

We hope that they get the idea by looking at the medal and reading his story that here’s a guy who without any special equipment and just ordinary in intelligence put it all on the line when he was called upon to do so. They did not succeed in the stated mission, but the daring and heroic nature of the event generated quite a time of enthusiasm or the raising the spirits among people supporting the Union.

This brought a bright light of hope to the North, and grandpa was a contributor to that. We just hope they would look at it as an important, interesting time of history, and that people from any and all walks of life can come to the fore and do what their country needs them to do when the circumstances dictate.

Visiting the Southern Museum and Kennesaw, where the Raid started, must have been quite an experience.

It put it all into three-dimensions. I could go up there into the cab and let my imagination take over and see myself pushing the throttle just like Great Grandpa Brown and sending the locomotive on up the rails and into history.

Posted in Southern Museum News | 1 Comment

Our Current Exhibits

The GeneralThe Great Locomotive Chase Railroads ExhibitRailroads: Lifelines of the Civil War Glover FactoryGlover Machine Works Family Fun in the Education CenterThe Jolley Education Center Special ExhibitSPECIAL: "1864" (May 3-July 20)