Military prisons during the Civil War were horrifying places during the daylight hours, and even more so at night. You can gain some insights into the conditions during a special "Night Museum" program coming to Andersonville National Historic Site next month.
From 6 p.m.-9 p.m. on November 16 the National Prisoner of War Museum at the historic site will be open for a rare night-time opportunity to view the museum exhibits and experience the prison. At 7 p.m. a special presentation, "Native Americans at Andersonville," will be offered in the museum theater. The park films, Voices From Andersonville and Echoes of Captivity, will be shown at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively.
From the courtyard at the rear of the museum, the path to the prison site will be illuminated by lanterns, allowing access to the reconstructed northeast corner of the prison site. Among the replica shelters will be living history volunteers, portraying the often-overlooked winter period of the prison in 1864-65.
A special program, Native Americans at Andersonville, will be presented by Michigan historian Chris Czopek. Mr. Czopek will share new research regarding American Indians from the Great Lakes tribes who enlisted in the Union army and were imprisoned at Andersonville. These men were members of Company K, 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. His program will share stories of their Andersonville experiences.
Mr. Czopek has spent 20 years gathering information on the 15 American Indian men from Company K held prisoner at Andersonville. Called "Lansing's History Detective" by the Lansing State Journal, Mr. Czopek has published several books on Civil War history and has been a consultant for The History Channel.
His most recent project, "Road to Andersonville," is the first film to tell the story of Company K. "
A visit to the National Prisoner of War Museum is a moving experience under any circumstance," said Superintendent Brad Bennett. "We hope that the Night Museum program will provide new opportunities and new experiences for visitors at this final event before the 150th anniversary of the prison begins next year."
During this night-time event, the prison site tour road and the Andersonville National Cemetery will be closed.
The next Night Museum at Andersonville is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2014, and will help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Andersonville Prison.
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, Georgia, and 10 miles northeast of Americus, Georgia, on Georgia Highway 49.
The national park features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter.
Andersonville National Historic Site is the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The National Prisoner of War Museum is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Admission is free.