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Civil War 150th Anniversary – Events in the Washington DC Area

Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War

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Civil War 150th Anniversary – Events in the Washington DC Area

Manassas Battlefield

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
From 2011-2015, America will mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Washington DC will play a key role in the commemoration offering special exhibitions and events. The Civil War 150th Anniversary events began in Spring 2010 with the first installment of a two-part exhibition at the National Archives. During the Civil War, Washington DC took a leading role in the quest for equality. Civil rights issues, from marriage equality to immigration reform, continue to draw people to Washington DC today. Cultural attractions, historic landmarks, cultural organizations and historic sites throughout the region have joined together for a unique promotion, entitled “Civil War to Civil Rights.”

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War coincides with the following significant developments in Washington DC:

Major Events, Special Tours and Exhibits

Note: This list will be updated with events throughout the four year sesquicentennial commemoration.

Ongoing - Capitol Visitor Center. Take a tour entitled "Capitol and the Congress During the Civil War." The tour is offered Monday through Friday at 3:30 p.m. and does not require reservations. With stops at the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the Old Senate Chamber, this special 45-minute tour explores how the Capitol was used during the Civil War, critical debates that took place during the Civil War, and key judicial decisions made during this time period.

Through 2015 - National Portrait Gallery
8th and F Streets NW., Washington, DC. The National Portrait Gallery continues to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, fought from 1861 to 1865, with rotating exhibitions, many of which draw heavily on the museum’s permanent collection. These presentations, which mark each year of the war, complement the installation of objects from the Civil War that are on long-term display in the exhibition “American Origins.”

October 12-13, 2013 - Battle of Bristoe Station 150th Commemorative Weekend
Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, Bristow, VA. The weekend will include tours, musical performances, lectures, tours and living history demonstrations and encampments to represent the soldiers and units present at the battle in 1863.

Additional Events Around the Region

Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania, the site of the American Civil War's most famous battle, will host special commemorative events through 2015. See a Calendar of Civil War Anniversary Events in Gettysburg

All of the national battlefields will also be hosting special commemorative events. They are beautiful historic sites to visit and pay tribute to American war heroes. Read about the Civil War Battlefields Near Washington DC

Civil War Websites

  • Civi War to Civil Rights
  • Civil War 150th Anniversary
  • National Park Service Civil War
  • Virginia Civil War
  • Heart of the Civil War
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