A Treasure Chest of Artifacts
The museum holds a treasure chest of unique artifacts, letters, and exhibits that tell the captivating story of Galena’s past. Its one-of-a-kind collections range from one of Ulysses S. Grant’s cigar butts to 3-D holograms and its many exhibits span the history of time in our region. Among the museum’s rare objects are:
“Peace in Union”, the original 9’ x 12’ painting by artist Thomas Nast depicting confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox in 1865, perhaps the museum’s most valuable piece and an American treasure;
the collected and often intimate letters of Civil War generals and soldiers to family and friends “back home”;
one of U.S. Grant’s cigar butts and a boot and bow tie he once wore;
a state-of-the-art, life-size 3-D hologram of General Grant and his wife Julia that welcomes visitors to Galena and provides a glimpse of Civil War era life in the town;
uniforms, helmets, and artillery shells from World War I and other conflicts; and
uncommon artifacts from the Antebellum and Post-Civil War era homes around Galena and the region, including clothing, recreational items, household items, and much more.
Permanent and temporary museum exhibits provide visitors with an in-depth look at Galena’s past, including the major stories that shaped its history, depicted by themes such as the Driftless, lead mining, Galena rivers and steamboats, and commerce and industry.
The Galena & U.S. Grant Museum is proud to be a Blue Star Museum. This designation is given to museums across America that offer free admission every year from Memorial Day through Labor Day to active-duty military members and their families, including National Guard and Reserve personnel. The Blue Star Museums program is a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense.