Donated Civil War Weapons Become Teaching Tools for Local Museum | Southern Museum

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History has recently acquired several donations of Civil War-era weapons.

“We are grateful to our two donors, Cedric Gifford and Chris K’Nerr,” said Mike Bearrow, curator. “Gifford donated two swords, a musket, and a carbine – all related to the Civil War. Additionally, K’Nerr donated a vintage Civil War musket.”

The Southern Museum prides itself in not keeping its items tucked away from the public. “We have several plans for these new items,” Bearrow explained. “One of the muskets will be displayed for visitors to actually pick up and note the heaviness – they were around 10 to 12 pounds!”

The second musket will be used as an educational tool to show Museum visitors the ins and outs of preserving antiques. “The previous owner prior to K’Nerr decided to sand blast the metal part,” said Bearrow. “Unfortunately, it did chip away at the integrity of the piece, but it still is an excellent piece and a great opportunity to teach about preservation.”

Bearrow stressed that the Museum thrives on donations. “Ninety percent of our Civil War materials that are either on display, or are waiting to be rotated in to display, are on loan to us,” he explained. “Loans can be expensive, and can also be removed at any time for a number of reasons. That’s why we are so grateful to those who donate their Civil War materials to us – the Museum can be a lasting home and tribute to those pieces.”

Looking at the rich history of the United States, Bearrow is confident that there are many citizens out there with Civil War memorabilia. “More and more people are realizing that museums are integral in connecting us with our shared heritage,” he said. “People are realizing that artifacts are not so much donated to a museum as they are to society. Historical treasures should not be hidden away. They need to be preserved, interpreted, and displayed for all to see.”

A Smithsonian Institution affiliate, the Southern Museum features collections of rare Civil War weapons, uniforms, and other personal items; an exciting exhibit about The Great Locomotive Chase, including a short movie; and a full-scale replica of a locomotive factory that helped rebuild the South after the war. The Museum is currently hosting the popular exhibit, “William Wardrop Creations: Man's Imagination & Machines.”

Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for senior citizens 60 and older, $5.50 for children four through 12 years old, and free for children three and under. The Southern Museum is located 20 miles north of Atlanta, off I-75 at exit 273. For more information, visit or call 770.427.2117.


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