Take a trip back in time to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History
in Kennesaw, Georgia! With three impressive permanent collections and a membership in the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations Program, the Museum offers a wide range of exhibits, including a glimpse into the daily lives of soldiers during the Civil War; a reproduction of a turn-of-the-century locomotive factory; and an exciting depiction of the Civil War's Great Locomotive Chase.
A special gallery will feature traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) as well as other sources and will be changed every few months, so visit this City of Kennesaw facility often!Exhibits
The Museum has exhibits for Civil War medical tools, guns and uniforms. However, the star of the museum is the General, which was involved in the Great Locomotive Chase in 1862. Collections and exhibits include:
• The Great Locomotive Chase
• Railroads: Lifelines
of the Civil War
• Glover Machine Works:
Casting a New South
• Education Center
• Special Exhibits
• Archives & LibraryMuseum History
In 1972, after a court battle, the state of Georgia won the locomotive the General back from the state of Tennessee. The General was taken to the Big Shanty Museum in Kennesaw, Georgia, located in the old Frey cotton gin, just yards from where it had been stolen 110 years earlier. The Big Shanty Museum, later called the Kennesaw Civil War Museum, showcased the General and the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase with artifacts and a multimedia presentation.
In the mid-1990s, the city of Kennesaw acquired the Glover Steam Locomotive Collection and planned to build a new, separate museum to house it. Originally, up to a million dollars of public funding was earmarked for the project. In 1998, the Kennesaw Museum Foundation was formed to identify other sources of funding, and the city decided to combine the Glover Collection with the General.
In 2000, the project was expanded once more to include a library, archives, and storage in addition to the exhibit space. The newly renovated Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History houses three permanent collections plus space for revolving exhibits.
The Museum became a member of the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations program in October 2001 after a lengthy application process that included visits to Washington, DC. The affiliation allows the Museum to host traveling Smithsonian exhibits, book Smithsonian historians for lecture series, and feature Smithsonian artifacts within its permanent collections. The revolving exhibits program will also spur repeat visits to the Museum because something new will be on display about every three months.The Great Locomotive Chase
On April 12, 1862, James J. Andrews and a band of Union spies stole the locomotive, the General, from under the watchful eyes of guards at nearby Camp McDonald while passengers and crew were eating breakfast at the Lacy Hotel.
Follow in the footsteps of Confederate Conductor William Fuller as he chases "Andrews Raiders" with a dramatic tour featuring an exciting movie about the chase, a façade of the Lacy Hotel, a tunnel, and the General.
The spies were stopped just before reaching Chattanooga. Those who were caught, including Andrews and Sgt. John Scott, were hanged. The Union participants of the Great Locomotive Chase were later among the first recipients of the Medal of Honor,many posthumously. Learn more about the spies in the Museum's Raiders Gallery that features Sgt. Scott's Medal of Honor, as well as photos and information about all 22 raiders.DIRECTIONS
From I-75 Northbound
From I-575 Northbound or Southbound:
Take the Chastain Road exit #3 and go west. Chastain Road becomes McCollum Parkway. Go past the airport and turn right on South Main Street (also known at Old Hwy 41). Turn right on Sardis St., turn left on Big Shanty Rd., and immediately back left onto Cherokee St. The museum parking lot will be on the left.
From I-75 Southbound:
Take the Wade Green Road exit #273 and turn right. Wade Green Road will become Cherokee Street. The museum will be on the right hand side before the railroad tracks; the parking lot is directly across the street on the left.
From US 41:
Turn on Watts Drive going east. Turn right on J.O. Stephenson Avenue. Cross the railroad tracks onto Cherokee Street. The museum parking lot will be on the right.