Explore the Western Theater of the American Civil War

Brother against brother, families and states divided, heroic charges and epic clashes of armies – the American Civil War is full of such stories. However, battles in the eastern states at well-known sites such as Antietam or Gettysburg, or the actions of prominent figures such as Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant only represent part of the story. Discover less familiar stories from the War of the Western States at the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater in Bardstown, Kentucky along the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway.

The western theater of the Civil War generally refers to military engagements west of the Appalachians. In the museum, explore the battles and personal histories of the Americans in this region through chronological displays of Civil War artifacts. Finely crafted weapons, tattered flags that once waved proudly in stiff breezes over the battle lines, and crisp uniforms worn by brave men on both sides are just a few of the displays and artifacts presented. Run your fingers over the smooth barrel of a 12-pound mountain Howitzer that belonged to the 18th Indiana Artillery regiment. (Twelve pounds refers to the weight of just one of the cannon’s shells!) Head next door to the adjoining Women’s Civil War Museum, the only museum in America dedicated exclusively to the women of the Civil War. Browse the museum’s exhibits for enthralling stories of the brave women who served as nurses, spies, and even soldiers during the bloodiest war in our nation’s history.

These two museums are part of Bardstown’s Museum Row, a complex of five museums in Old Bardstown Village that also includes the Wildlife Museum, the War Memorial of Mid-America, and the Pioneer Village. For more information on the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater, the Women’s Civil War Museum, and the other three museums, visit their official website. Revisit a pivotal era in American history on the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway.