Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Civil War 150

The Civil War was a military, cultural, political, and economic milestone in American history. For four years the nation was in a bloody divide that extended from the East Coast to the pioneer West between the North and the South. It was a battle of ideology rooted in the founding of the nation, in which states’ rights and the institution of slavery were points of extreme contention. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, heralded the victory of the Union and Republican President Abraham Lincoln, although Lincoln did not live to see the ratification of the amendment in December 1865. Our collections provide many perspectives on the Civil War and give a fuller understanding of this epic event.