African American Civil War Memorial Museum

African American Civil War Memorial Museum

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About
The African-American Civil War Museum and Memorial was created to tell the story and pay tribute to African-Americans who fought in the Civil War.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Upper Northwest
How to get there
  • U St • 4 min walk
  • Shaw – Howard University • 6 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
104 reviews
Excellent
66
Very good
25
Average
9
Poor
2
Terrible
2

Stéphanie R
Quebec City, Canada12 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
We left this museum really impressed. The perfect amount of information and the way the subject is covered makes this visit essential to your next trip in Washington. A must if you want to understand the black community ‘s reality.
Written 13 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Miles
1 contribution
Dec 2021
What a fascinating place. Lots of information about Black soldiers and sailors—and not just during the Civil War. The Civil War is clearly the main focus, but there's also a some information on the background of some slaves before they were brought to America, and how Black soldiers served in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, in addition to their services in subsequent wars and some information about the Civil Rights struggle. I think these are important parts of the picture, partly because for a long time, every time the US got in a major war, they turned to Black soldiers and sailors, whose valorous contributions were then erased from history, leaving the next generations of white politicians and high ranking officers to ignorantly say that they didn't think Black men would make good soldiers. Here, though, you can see Washington's and Hamilton's and Andrew Jackson's high opinions of the Black soldiers who served under them; you can see how they participated in famous events like the capture of New Orleans in 1815 and Lee's surrender at Appomattox; you can see how a political cartoonist expressed impatience with Revolutionary politicians who were, in the cartoonist's view, blind to the need for Black recruits; you can learn about how some of the Tuskeegee officers gate-crashed a segregated officers' club. There are also sections honoring the many Black recipients of the Medal of Honor in the Civil War—and a part telling about how Black service members were excluded from the Medal of Honor in some later wars.

One thing that might be nice for the museum to change in the future is to display more physical artifacts from the Civil War and provide more information/background/context for the artifacts that they do have on display. Overall, though, it was terrific. This is a story that needs to be told more. And besides, so much of history is about one group of people oppressing another—it feels refreshing to learn about a moment when group of people fought for their collective freedom from slavery and won, even if victory came at a terrible human cost.
Written 21 December 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pamela C
Atlanta, GA94 contributions
Feb 2020
This was an excellent trip where we visited lots of museums and monuments. We loved seeing the history of our country.
Written 14 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brianabulls
Miami, FL401 contributions
Nov 2019 • Family
The African American Civil War Memorial is a really cool sight. It isn’t just one sided so you can walk around a get multiple views. Surrounding the monument are silver plaques dedicated to African Americans that fought in the war. Our tour guide told us that Michelle Obama found one of her relatives on a plaque.
Written 1 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

worldexplorer53
New Orleans, LA638 contributions
Jan 2020
contrary to a previous review we would say that there is a lot here. the history of the african american role in the civil war is huge. while this museum in no way rivals the smithsonian for grandeur and expense of its exhibits, there is still a powerful lesson of history to be learned. the "living history" actor posing as a member of an african american army regular was fun as he showed us the use of the arms of that unit and answered questions. allow about 1 hour. there is no entry fee.
Written 3 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

amymcg
Market Lavington, UK24 contributions
Oct 2019 • Family
This museum is absolutely fantastic. My second visit, it didn’t fail to disappoint. My children are 10 and found it really interesting. It’s particularly poignant on the lower floors, so the contemplation court is perfect to sit and reflect. The upper floors bring so much joy. The cafe is excellent, the staff are fab.
Written 28 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

HonestMcHonest
Denver, CO983 contributions
Sep 2019 • Solo
This is not part of the Smithsonian - it is basically nothing more than a bunch of posters - there are few if any original artifacts.
Written 28 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DMGAmes_Iowa
Ames, IA598 contributions
Sep 2019
This poignant memorial with its large bronze sculpture honors the some 220,000 African American and Hispanica soldiers and 20,000 black sailors who served the Union during the Civil War. The sculpture was designed by black sculptor, Ed Hamilton, of Louisville, KY. Commissioned by the DC Arts and Humanities Commission in 1993 and dedicated in 1997. Important for all to know the contributions by brave soldiers of color during the Civil War.
Written 13 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom M
Seattle, WA33 contributions
Sep 2019
It is my understanding that the memorial and museum fulfilled a lifelong dream of Dr. Frank Smith, Jr., a four-term member of the D.C. district council, who oversaw the dedication of the African American Civil War Memorial in July 1998, to honor African Americans who fought for freedom as "USTC" (United States "Colored" Troops). Both are a wonderful tribute to those troops. The museum is as others suggest not huge or overwhelming yet chock-full of interesting and oft-times moving information and displays. While I was there a docent gave an informative and emotional talk that was great. Do not miss the memorial -- it's across the street from the entrance to the museum. It is a small but potent and memorable tribute to the USCT. If you want to get off the beaten path of the Mall, and learn something while paying tribute to American heroes, go here. (My photos are "OK' but don't capture the power of the statutes, and there was NO way I could bring to life the plaques listing the names of the 200,000 (yes, two hundred thousand) USCT who served, so I didn't include those.) (P.S. It's hard to decide how much time to recommend. I chose 1-2 hours because like many/most museums if you try to ingest everything it can be a bit overwhelming -- you literally could spend days if you read everything. So 1-2 or 2-3 depending on YOU.)
Written 7 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

alsally1139
Atlanta, GA44 contributions
Sep 2019 • Couples
A meaningful display of the horrific history of slavery, Jim Crow, and American racism. In spite of such hardships this museum documents the fight of freedom by many heroic people.
Written 3 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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African American Civil War Memorial Museum, Washington DC

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