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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 1, 2001

Civil War museum "down the middle'

Civil War museum "down the middle'

Artifacts such as Gen. Robert E. Lee's pocket Bible and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's sword belt can be seen at the new National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa., along with exhibits that emphasize the human drama of the war.

More than a decade in the planning, the museum, which opened in February, mixes high-tech exhibits and more traditional displays on slavery and the Civil War and its bruising aftermath. The museum emphasizes neither the Union nor the Confederate side. "We tell the story straight down the middle," said George E. Hicks, a Civil War historian who is the museum's chief executive officer.

Yet the museum's presentation is surely poignant. In front of the building is a bronze statue, Moment of Mercy, that commemorates the efforts of Confederate Sgt. Richard R. Kirkland to provide water and comfort to wounded and dying Union soldiers during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Inside, one exhibit shows a surgeon's tent with an operation under way, with audio of letters and diaries from patients and surgeons, nurses and other medical personnel. Throughout, video screens tell the stories of composite characters of the period.

The museum, 1 Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park, is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Call (866) 258-4729 or (717) 260-1861, or visit Admission: $7.

Help on the Web for trips to Germany

The German National Tourist Board has designed a new Web site for United States travelers -- -- that lets them price and arrange trips, design itineraries and even give their taste buds a vicarious workout.

The site, linked to the board's main Web site,, has its own search engine, calendar of events, daily currency exchange rates and weather conditions for all parts of Germany.

One page on the site, "Traveler's Information," allows visitors to tailor trips to certain regions or to special interests, like Jewish history or golf.

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