Research Opportunities

Explore our Collection

People in the museum archives looking at a doll.

Our Collections

The American Civil War Museum has over 120,000 unique artifacts, pamphlets, photographs, prints, sketches and manuscripts in its care, over half of which are non-military. These artifacts tell the stories of countless individuals and their experiences during the Civil War- both on the battlefield as well as on the home-front.


The John H. Motley Collection

The American Civil War Museum houses over 3,000 items relating to African American military history from Civil War to the Persian Gulf War. If you would like to get in touch to view items from this collection, please contact us to make an appointment.

A woman carefully looking at a historical document.

Onsite Research Appointments

Anyone can view an item or items in the Museum’s collections, but you must make an appointment. All appointments must be scheduled in advance (generally two weeks). A donation to the Museum is encouraged if you make an appointment. 

The museum has undertaken a comprehensive cataloging and digitization project of the archives collection. Due to the staff required for the digitization project, there may be significant delays in answering research requests. Photocopies and digital images of archives items will be available on a sporadic and limited basis until the project is complete.

To schedule an appointment, contact us here.

Research Inquiries

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Manuscripts and Photos

In 2014, the American Civil War Museum and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture entered into a licensing agreement by which the VMHC would digitize the Confederate Literary Memorial Society photo collection and handle all requests for digital images. You can view those here

By the same agreement, ACWM’s CMLS manuscript collections moved to the VMHC where they are available in their reading room. Items not yet appearing in the online catalog may be available for research. You may contact them for further research questions regarding photos and manuscripts at [email protected].


Rights and Reproductions

Digital images of objects from the museum’s permanent collection for personal use or publication are available. Please contact us for more information. Production and publication fees may apply.

Artifact Loan Policy

The American Civil War Museum considers it a part of its interpretive mission to make available pieces from its permanent collection for temporary loan to other qualified institutions. Loans are made based upon the condition of the item requested and the borrowing institution’s ability to meet industry standards in the care, protection and interpretation of materials. View our full loan policy here.


Donating an Artifact
A close up of a historical document.

The reason we have a rich collection of military and civilian artifacts is due to donations over the last 120 years, many from Civil War veterans, immediate family members, and their descendants. If you want to be part of that legacy by donating an item to the American Civil War Museum, please contact our collections department.

Have additional questions? Contact us!