US Historical Sites

If you’re looking to explore Historic Sites in United States and the surrounding area then you can explore our interactive map of US historical sites above or navigate further by using the links below.

There’s a fantastic selection of Historic Sites in United States and you can plan some great things to see on your trips by browsing our selection. Once you’ve explored the historical sites of the usa you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.

Our database of US historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other Historic Sites in United States, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.


Top US Destinations: Historic Sites in Washington DC | Historic Sites in New York City | Historic Sites in Boston | Historic Sites in Philadelphia

Historical sites in United States: Regional Index

United States: Site Index

African American Museum - Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia explores African American history and heritage.

DID YOU KNOW?

The African American Museum in Philadelphia explores the history and heritage of African Americans, from culture, literature and art to politics. The main collections at the African American Museum in Philadelphia relate to the history of Philadelphian African Americans in the twentieth century, from exhibits about the city’s chapter of the Black Panthers to sports paraphernalia.

Photo by Dennis from Atlanta (cc)

Alcatraz Island

One of the most infamous US historical sites Alcatraz Island in San Francisco was a military base turned federal prison, which housed many of the USA’s most notorious criminals.

DID YOU KNOW?

Alcatraz Island was the site of a notoriously harsh prison based off the coast of San Francisco, California, this isolated position earning it the name of “The Rock”. However, prior to becoming a prison, Alcatraz Island had a long history as a military base.

Initially discovered by a Spanish explorer in 1775, Alcatraz Island was first used by the US military in 1853, when it established a base there, transforming it into Fortress Alcatraz. This heavily fortified structure was completed in 1859.

In the course of the American Civil War, the defences of Alcatraz Island were a Union stronghold used to ward off the Confederates. It was also at this time that Alcatraz was first used as a prison, to house Confederate prisoners of war. This military prison continued to expand and was used throughout the late nineteenth century to hold, amongst others, Native American prisoners and those from the Spanish-American War. Over the years, the army kept building more prison sites on Alcatraz Island to hold the increasing number of inmates.

Alcatraz Island’s role as a site of imprisonment was cemented in August 1934. The US government had bought the site the year before and decided to use it as a federal prison, a function it would serve for twenty-nine years.

During this time, Alcatraz held some of the US’s most infamous criminals, including the gangsters Al Capone, Robert Stroud and George Kelly. Many inmates attempted to escape Alcatraz Island and, although no prisoners have “officially” escaped, one of the fourteen recorded attempts resulted in the disappearance of the escapees, Frank Morris and Clarence and John Anglin. Presumed drowned, their bodies have never been recovered.

Alcatraz Island is today managed by the National Parks Service and offers tours of the old prison. An eerie yet fascinating journey into the workings of this famous site, visitors to Alcatraz Island can make use of audio guides which chronicle its history (45 minutes). The visit usually lasts 2-3 hours. This site features as one of our Top 10 tourist Attractions in the United States.

Photo by Richard Elzey (cc)

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison in Georgia is a National Historic Site dedicated to all American prisoners of war.

DID YOU KNOW?

Andersonville Prison, also known as Camp Sumter, in Georgia was a military prison established by the Confederates in February 1864, during the American Civil War. In fact, Andersonville was one of the largest of such prisons and, by April 1865, had held over 45,000 Union prisoners of war or ‘POW’s’.

Over its fourteen months of existence under Confederate control, around 13,000 Union POW’s died at Andersonville Prison. This was mostly due to the dire conditions at the institution which led to malnutrition and disease. These soldiers were buried at Andersonville National Cemetery.

Today, Andersonville Prison, together with the National Prisoner of War Museum and the Andersonville National Cemetery form a Nation Historic Site. In addition to exploring the prison itself, visitors can learn about the role of American POW’s in numerous different conflicts and view exhibits detailing their sacrifice.

The Andersonville Prison site also includes the cemetery, which is now a National Cemetery and is still active today as a burial place for war veterans.

Photo by dulasfloyd (cc)

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site commemorates the life of the seventeenth president of America.

DID YOU KNOW?

President Andrew Johnson’s house, now operating as the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, is a museum about the seventeenth president of the United States of America. The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site is set in Andrew Johnson’s home of 24 years.

Andrew Johnson was a southerner and a Democrat, who worked as a tailor prior to his political career and had little education. As Vice President to Abraham Lincoln, Johnson succeeded Lincoln upon his assassination and served from 1865 to 1869.

Johnson’s presidency was beset with problems, including a fierce dispute with the Republicans which culminated in his impeachment and subsequent acquittal in 1868 under the Tenure of Office Act.

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site allows visitors to tour the President’s old home, which is now furnished with his original belongings. The tour offers an insight into Andrew Johnson’s early life and his work in trying to reunify his country. You can visit his old tailor shop, see original graffiti done by soldiers during the Civil War and even take part in a reconstruction of his impeachment proceedings in the museum.

Nearby is the National Cemetery, a resting place for veterans and where Andrew Johnson is buried with his family. The best way to plan your trip is to start at the visitors’ centre, which houses the museum and which contains itinerary ideas.

Photo by Alaskan Dude (cc)

Antietam Battlefield

A sobering historical location, Antietam Battlefield was the scene of the culmination of the Maryland campaign and single bloodiest day’s battle in American History.

DID YOU KNOW?

Antietam Battlefield was where, on 17 September 1862, General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia met Major General George B. McClellan and the Army of the Potomac in what became the most brutal battle of the American Civil War. In fact, the Battle of Antietam remains the USA’s bloodiest single day of battle to date.

Part of the Maryland Campaign and the Confederate Army’s first incursion into the North, the Battle at Antietam raged for twelve hours and ended with a Confederate withdrawal, though only after a long, inconclusive, mutually destructive day's fighting. The total cost to both sides was estimated to be upwards of 23,000 casualties.

However, although not a conclusive victory for the Union, it did provide enough political cover to allow President Lincoln to move forward with his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Antietam Battlefield National Park commemorates this battle and is a goldmine of information about the War. With so many activities and tours, one could spend days there. However, those with limited time can visit the Antietam Battlefield visitors centre to see their exhibits, enjoy a battlefield talk by one of the Park Rangers or embark on an 8½ mile self guided tour of the Antietam Battlefield by car, bicycle or on foot.

The Antietam Battlefield tour has eleven stops and audio/CD guides are available at the park’s bookstore. There are also audiovisual experiences, one of which is introductory and runs for half an hour and the second an award-winning hour long recreation of the battle.

Photo by rharrison (cc)

Appomattox County Court

Among the most significant of US historical sites, Appomattox was the village where General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865, ending the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

It was in Appomattox, a village in Virginia, that General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865, marking the end of the American Civil War. The meeting took place at the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean and lasted approximately an hour and a half.

Appomattox County Court National Park now offers visitors a myriad of experiences and exhibits relating to the Confederate surrender. You can visit the Mclean House where the surrender took place as well as the Appomattox County Court Visitors Centre, which houses a number of exhibits relating to the event.

Visitors can also gain an understanding of the final battles of the Civil War by visiting the Appomattox Station and Court House. Living history experiences are conducted throughout the summer months and occasionally in the spring and winter, with actors recreating the famous surrender. You should allow at least three hours for your visit.

Photo by Historvius

Arkansas State University Museum

Arkansas State University Museum offers a range of exhibits looking at the natural history and cultural heritage of Northeast Arkansas.

DID YOU KNOW?

Arkansas State University Museum, located on the Arkansas University campus, offers a range of exhibits and collections looking at the natural history and cultural heritage of Northeast Arkansas.

Established in 1933, the museum examines the history of the state, stretching from pre-historic times to early European settlement and beyond. Permanent exhibits include Native American collections, early European exploration and settlement as well as collections from World War Two and the Vietnam War.

The museum also offers a number of relevant temporary exhibits, online exhibits and even iPod tours of Old Town Arkansas in English and Spanish.

Photo by pastorbuhro (cc)

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is an iconic burial site and a national monument.

DID YOU KNOW?

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is both a military burial site and an iconic monument to fallen soldiers. Initially, the site of Arlington Cemetery began as a house – Arlington House – built in memory of President George Washington. The house, which still stands today, then became the property of Mary and Robert E. Lee.

During the American Civil War, Lee was asked to be a Union leader but refused, waiting to see how Virginia would side. When Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, Lee became a commander of the Confederate army and fled from Arlington House shortly before the Union crossed the Potomac River and took the land around Washington. Eventually captured, Arlington House would become a Union army base.

In January 1864, the government legally purchased Arlington House and, later that year, desperately in need of space to bury the increasing number of war casualties, Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs designated Arlington a national cemetery – a function for which it had unofficially already been used. By the end of the conflict in 1865, Arlington housed the graves of over 5,000 soldiers.

Over the years, Arlington National Cemetery has come to represent a memorial to all US soldiers who have died for their country and is still an active cemetery. In fact, there are approximately 300,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery, neatly aligned and each with a white headstone.

With its status as a nationally heritage site, Arlington National Cemetery has also formed the location of numerous monuments. Amongst these are The Arlington Memorial Amphitheatre, where memorials and funerals are held, the United States Marine Corps Memorial, an iconic statue depicting soldiers raising the American flag and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

Arlington National Cemetery is also the home of The Tomb of the Unknowns, a burial place for one unidentified soldier from each of World War I, World War II and the Korean War. There was a soldier from the Vietnam War, but he was later identified and moved.

Many famous Americans are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, from military heroes to astronauts and leaders such as President John F Kennedy. Those visiting Arlington National Cemetery can start at the visitor centre, where there are guide books, maps and exhibits. Arlington House itself is also open to the public, with a museum and guides chronicling this building’s unique history.

Photo by Chris_Short (cc)

Averasboro Battlefield

The Battle of Averasborough was part of the Carolinas Campaign during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Averasboro Battlefield  was the site of The Battle of Averasborough, part of the Carolinas Campaign during the American Civil War.

The Battle of Averasborough took place on 15 and 16 March 1865. Part of the Carolinas Campaign of the American Civil War, the Battle of Averasborough was fought between the Unionist Army of Georgia led by Major General Henry W. Slocum and a Confederate army led by Lieutenant General William J. Hardee. Hardee’s mission was to delay Slocum’s troops to allow General Joseph E. Johnston to amass troops at nearby Bentonville.

There is debate as to whether Hardee succeeded in delaying the Union army for as long as he required. Overall, the Battle of Averasborough resulted in over a thousand casualties, with 682 on the Confederate side and around five hundred Unionists.

Today, visitors can see the battlefield and a related museum commemorating the Battle of Averasborough.

Photo by Ken Lund (cc)

Aztec Ruins National Monument

Aztec Ruins National Monument is actually the home of an impressive set of ancestral Puebloan ruins. A lesser-known but important US historic site.

DID YOU KNOW?

Aztec Ruins National Monument is actually the home of an impressive set of ancestral Puebloan ruins rather than anything built by the Aztecs. The name Aztec Ruins National Monument is actually a misnomer, deriving from a 19th century misconception about the origins of the site.

Begun in the twelfth century and lived in for some 200 years, these ruins are the remains of a great house which once had some 500 rooms. There would also have been a "kiva" or ceremonial building, which has now been reconstructed.

Visitors to the Aztec Ruins National Monument can tour these fascinating ruins, with much of the structure of some rooms still intact and some of their original wood beams still visible. There are even signs of fingerprints of the Pueblos who built the site in some of the walls.

There’s also a visitor center with exhibits of excavated finds from the site and a film about the history of the Four Corners region.

The Aztec Ruins National Monument is part of the "Chaco Culture" UNESCO World Heritage site.

Bacon’s Castle

Built in 1665, remains British North America's oldest, extent brick dwelling and finest example of Jacobean architecture.

DID YOU KNOW?

Located in Surry, Virginia, Bacon’s Castle was built in 1665, the home of plantation owner Arthur Allen. Yet the name Bacon’s Castle refers not to its original master but to the anti-colonial uprising known as Bacon's Rebellion which banished Allen’s son and heir from the house in 1676.

Today, Bacon’s Castle is said to not only be Virginia’s oldest known brick house, but the last of example of Jacobean architecture anywhere in North America. Now managed by Preservation Virginia, the building and its gardens are open in parts of the year for tours.

Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial

The Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial commemorates the biggest historic naval battle of World War II.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial commemorates what is generally known as the biggest historic naval battle of World War II.

Fought in the seas around the Philippines in October 1944 between US and Japanese fleets, as well as by air, the Battle of Leyte Gulf is famed not just for its grand scale, but also as a pivotal point in the Pacific campaign. Indeed, this decisive US victory opened the way for recapturing the Philippines from the Japanese and gaining general control of the Pacific theatre.

Many aircraft carriers and support vessels were sunk in the Leyte Gulf, but it is generally thought that many of these wrecks are too deep to be visited by scuba divers so there is little to see of this naval battle. For those looking for a place to remember this important military event, there is the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial in San Diego in the States.

For an important memorial connected to the Battle of Leyte Gulf located in the Philippines, there is the Leyte Landing Memorial, which is in aid of the related Battle of Leyte.

Photo by freddthompson (cc)

Bay of Pigs Museum

The Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami relates to the failed 1961 attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami, Florida is dedicated to the 2506 Brigade, the group which undertook the failed attempt by to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The Bay of Pigs invasion was undertaken by Cuban exiles supported by the CIA and US government under President John F Kennedy. In April 1961, approximately 1,400 exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of removing Castro.

The vast majority of the 2506 Brigade were taken captive, many other having been killed in the attack. Overall, the Bay of Pigs invasion was a major source of humiliation to Kennedy’s administration and only served to worsen the tensions of the Cold War.

The Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami houses a small collection of items, photographs and documents relating to the Bay of Pigs.

Photo by M Glasgow (cc)

Bethel Baptist Church

Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama was the headquarters of local civil rights activists and played a crucial role in the US Civil Rights movement. It was attacked on three separate occasions by extremists.

DID YOU KNOW?

The site of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama played a crucial role in the fledgling American Civil Rights movement.

From 1956 until 1961 Bethel Baptist Church was the headquarters of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights which strove to ensure equal rights through non-violent means and fought against policies of segregation.

As well as serving as the headquarters for this group, the Bethel Baptist Church was a key site during the 1961 Freedom Ride. The church building was also attacked three times by extremists, in 1956, 1958 and 1962.

Today the Bethel Baptist Church holds a small museum to the Civil Rights movement.

Photo by Pilot MKN (cc)

Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield

One of many civil war historic sites, Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield was the site of a Confederate victory on 10 June 1864.

DID YOU KNOW?

On 10 June 1864, Brice's Crossroads Battlefield in Mississippi was the site of a clash between 4,787 Confederate troops led by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and 8,100 Union soldiers commanded by Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis.

By this time, the Union had won several important battles such as in Gettysburg and Chattanooga. In fact, the reason that the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads occurred was that Sturgis had been sent there by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. This was a distraction tactic, aimed at diverting Forrest, a fierce cavalryman, whilst Sherman carried out his “March to the Sea.” The manoeuvre was successful and Forrest’s forces were met at Brice's Crossroads with Sturgis’ army.

Despite being outnumbered, the Confederates were victorious. However, this victory brought with it few gains and only succeeded in slowing down the Union incursion into the south.

Today, Brice's Crossroads Battlefield is a National Park managed by the Natchez Trace Parkway. There are no visitor facilities at the site, but the nearby Brice's Crossroads Visitor and Interpretive Center offers an insight into the battle.

Photo by Allie_Caulfield (cc)

Bunker Hill Monument

AN important US historic site, The Bunker Hill Monument commemorates the first major battle of the American Revolution in 1775.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Bunker Hill Monument is a memorial of the Battle of Bunker Hill, which took place on 17 June 1775 between the British army and the militias of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island early in the American Revolution.

The British army was far more well equipped and well trained than the American militias, however, the famous order of "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" originating from this battle and attributed to an American colonialist demonstrates the tenacity with which the American militias fought.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, which formed part of the Siege of Boston, saw the British gain more ground than the American forces, however this was somewhat of a pyrrhic victory given the over 1,000 casualties of the British when compared with approximately 500 American casualties.

Bunker Hill Monument sits atop Breed’s Hill, on which most of the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought, however, the battle is named after the parties’ objective goal, Bunker Hill. Bunker Hill Monument is an obelisk standing 221 feet high which visitors can enter and even climb to the top for stunning views from its observation deck. The only thing is, there are around 270 steps and no lift/elevator.

The nearby Bunker Hill Museum offers a detailed insight into the war, the history of Charlestown and the monument itself, with numerous exhibits and artifacts. Both the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum form part of Boston’s Freedom Trail. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the USA.

California African American Museum

The California African American Museum is dedicated to African American history and culture.

DID YOU KNOW?

The California African American Museum (CAAM) is dedicated to the history and culture of African Americans, particularly the African American community in California.

Combining exhibits of art, such as its collection of masks from around West Africa, with historic artefacts, the California African American Museum aims to tell the story of this community and its heritage.

One of the main exhibits at the California African American Museum is called the "African American Journey West" and explores the journey from western Africa to America’s west coast.

Photo by Historvius

Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th century fortification and the oldest of its type in the continental United States.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest stone fort in the continental United States.

Originally constructed by the Spanish in the late 17th century, the stone Castillo de San Marcos replaced a previous wooden fortification. The need for a stone fort became apparent after the English buccaneer Robert Searle burnt most of the settlement in 1668. The new stone fort was constructed between 1672 and 1695.

Over the course of its history, the Castillo de San Marcos has been controlled by Spain, Britain, Spain again, the United States, the Confederate States, and finally the United States again. The fort was never taken in battle, despite being besieged on two occasions.

In addition to defending Saint Augustine it has served at various times as a prison, including during the First American Period when the famous Native American leader Osceola was a prisoner there.

The Castillo de San Marcos was declared a National Monument in 1900. The best time to visit is winter, when it's not so crowded in Saint Augustine (though not necessarily in the weeks around Christmas, when it's almost as crowded as during summer).

If you go in summer be aware that 30C is pretty much the average temperature from late May until mid-September. On the weekends they have cannon firing demonstrations several times a day.

Photo by jimbowen0306 (cc)

Chancellorsville Battlefield

Chancellorsville Battlefield was the site of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s “greatest victory” in 1863 during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Chancellorsville Battlefield in Virginia was the site of a major Confederate victory during the American Civil War and part of the wider Chancellorsville Campaign, an attempt by the Unionists to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond.

Fought between 30 April and 6 May 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville saw the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia led by General Robert E. Lee defeat Major General Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac despite all the odds being stacked in favour of the Unionists. Lee’s army was not only half the size of Hooker’s but was also in a state of disarray when the Chancellorsville Campaign began.

Yet, with the help of a risky plan by General Lee combined with Unionist miscommunication, badly managed Unionist corps and Hooker’s inexperience in command, the Confederates achieved victory. However, with over a quarter of Lee’s forces killed or wounded in the battle and the loss of his most important generals, including Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, this was something of a pyrrhic victory.

Today, visitors can explore Chancellorsville Battlefield within the wider remit of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Chancellorsville Battlefield offers numerous tours ranging from driving and walking tours to audio and virtual tours.

There is also a twenty minute video at the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center as well as exhibitions and literature. The site also has a monument to Stonewall Jackson.

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center

The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center chronicles the history of this area including its famous land run.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center chronicles the history of the area of land known as the Cherokee Strip or the Cherokee Outlet.

This area of land was given to the Cherokee nation in the nineteenth century and became home to Native American tribes before it was sold back to the government. With land in great demand, on 16 September 1893, the government opened up the Cherokee Strip to a land run - the biggest one in US history.

Today, the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center tells the story of the area and the people who lived there including the Native Americans and the pioneers.

Photo by TJJohn12 (cc)

Chickamauga Battlefield

The Chickamauga Battlefield was the scene of the Confederates’ last major victory in the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Chickamauga Battlefield forms part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and is a major landmark in US history.

In the fall of 1863, General William S. Rosecrans' Union army fought General Braxton Bragg's Confederates for control of Chattanooga, a key rail centre and what was considered the gateway to the South. Nearby Chickamauga became the scene of the first battle for Chattanooga and in which the Confederates emerged victorious.

In fact, this was the last major victory for the South in the Civil War.

The 5,500 acre Chickamauga Battlefield is filled with historical tablets and monuments related to the American Civil War. Visitors can tour Chickamauga Battlefield by a seven-mile self-guiding auto tour as well while hiking and horse trails are also available.

Military enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center to see the Fuller Gun Collection with over 300 examples of military long arms. 

Photo by Library of Congress (cc)

Cliveden House

Cliveden House is an eighteenth century historic home in Philadelphia and the site of a Revolutionary War battle.

DID YOU KNOW?

Cliveden House is an eighteenth century historic home in Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighbourhood. Built from 1763 to 1767, Cliveden House was intended as the summer home of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Chew and his family. In fact, it would go on to fulfil this role for seven generations of Chews, the main parts of the house remaining remarkably well-preserved.

One of the most important chapters in the history of Cliveden House took place on 4 October 1777, when it became the site of the Battle of Germantown, a clash in the Revolutionary War. Part of the Philadelphia Campaign, this battle was a victory for British troops under Colonel Thomas Musgrave against American forces under George Washington.

Cliveden House also has significance in terms of African American history. In particular, the Chew family owned plantations which employed slave labour.

Visitors to Cliveden House can learn about different aspects of the Chew family’s history as well as that of the site itself.

Photo by JoeDuck (cc)

Cold Harbor

One of many historical site in the US relating to the American Civil War, Cold Harbor was the site of one of General Robert E. Lee’s final victories in the conflict.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Battle of Cold Harbor was part of the overland campaign of 1864 during the American Civil War.

It was here in Cold Harbor that, between 31 May and 12 June 1864, the Army of the Potomac led by Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant battled General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

With over 12,000 casualties to the Union army, the battle of Cold Harbor would be one of Lee’s final victories, prompting Grant to change his strategy.

Cold Harbor now forms part of Richmond National Battlefield Park, Virginia where visitors can find a myriad of Civil War related sites, tours and exhibits. Walking tours of Cold Harbor ranging from one to three miles start at the Visitors Centre in Mechanicsville which also houses a series of exhibits such as an electric map program for Cold Harbor and Gaines Mill.

Photo by cliff1066™ (cc)

College Park Aviation Museum

College Park Aviation Museum in Maryland is a museum which charts America’s history of aviation.

DID YOU KNOW?

In addition to being the longest operating airport in the world and the site where Wilbur Wright – one of the Wright brothers – trained the first aviators, College Park Aviation Museum in Maryland is now a museum which explores the history of aviation, including the World War One era.

Photo by boboroshi (cc)

Colonial National Park

English Colonial America started and ended in the area now known as Colonial National Park.

DID YOU KNOW?

Colonial National Park encompasses the areas in which the English established their first permanent American colony in 1607 and the battlefield on which they surrendered to George Washington’s army in 1781, thus ending their rule.

Incorporating Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield, together with the Cape Henry Memorial commemorating the location of the first British landings in Virginia, Colonial National Park offers a comprehensive insight into English Colonial America with, amongst other things, ranger guided tours and exhibitions.

Photo by HBarrison (cc)

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is the recreation of the 18th century capital of Virginia.

DID YOU KNOW?

Colonial Williamsburg is a historic site in Virginia made up of an entire town restored to its colonial state.

From homes to public buildings and shops, Colonial Williamsburg takes visitors back to the time when Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia – between 1699 and 1780. Later, during the American War of Independence, the capital of Virginia was moved to Richmond.

Some of the buildings are original, whilst others are recreations. Overall, Colonial Williamsburg is an experience of the history of colonial America.

Colonial Williamsburg also has a series of museums and exhibits for adults and for children and is a very popular tourist attraction.

Photo by Brokentaco (cc)

Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum

The Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum focuses on the history of the Pikes Peak region.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum focuses on the history of the Pikes Peak region and, in particular, that of the city of Colorado Springs.

From Native American history to the founding of Colorado Springs and its mining history, the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum has exhibits on a range of issues.

Photo by Kurt Magoon (cc)

Congress Hall

Ranked among the most important of US historical sites, Congress Hall was the seat of the USA’s Congress between 1790 and 1800.

DID YOU KNOW?

Congress Hall was originally built as Philadelphia’s County Court House, but when Philadelphia became the temporary capital of the US in 1790, it was transformed into the seat of the country’s Congress.

Congress Hall served as Congress’ seat from 6 December 1790 to 14 May 1800, when Congress relocated to Washington DC. During this time, it was the scene of several important historical events, including the inaugurations of Presidents George Washington and John Adams and the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Visiting Congress Hall is a great way to gain an understanding of the American forefathers and the origins of the USA. Congress Hall is now part of Independence National Historical Park, which also encompasses a myriad of significant sites such as Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Centre sprawled over 55 acres within the City of Philadelphia.

Visitors can choose from a variety of ranger guided walking tours as well as various indoor and outdoor activities. Congress Hall is next door to Independence Hall, site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Photo by MGSwarbs (cc)

Daniel Boone Homestead

The Daniel Boone Homestead is an historic reserve containing a number of sites relating to the early life of legendary American frontiersman Daniel Boone.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Daniel Boone Homestead is the birthplace of famous American pioneer Daniel Boone.

A legendary frontiersman, Boone was one of the most famous explorers of his lifetime and achieved iconic status within US folklore.

Located near Reading, Pennsylvania, the Daniel Boone Homestead contains a number of historic buildings including the restored main house and an eighteenth century blacksmith's shop. Exhibitions on display at the Daniel Boone Homestead tell the story of Boone's youth and of the lives of the settlers who lived in the area at the time. Displays focus on the lives of the families who lived at the Homestead, the Boones, the Maugridges and the DeTurks.

Additionally, the Daniel Boone Homestead hosts a number of historic programs and has almost 600 acres of historic grounds.

Photo by MadMarlin (cc)

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza in Texas was the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is clearly one of the most tragic of all US historic locations.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas was the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at 12:30pm (CST) on 22 November 1963. Kennedy was the thirty-fifth President of the United States of America and served during the Cold War, his premiership encompassing events such as the Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall.

At the time of his assassination, Kennedy was being driven through Dealey Plaza in an open-top car with his wife Jacqueline in the presidential motorcade. He was shot and later declared dead in the emergency room of Parkland Hospital.

The circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy remain a source of contention. Official investigations at the time found that his killer had been Lee Harvey Oswald, who is said to have hidden on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, from where he fired the deadly shots. Oswald denied the crime. However, he was never tried as he himself was fatally shot two days later.

In the years since Kennedy’s assassination there have been numerous conspiracy theories as to who was responsible for his murder.

Dealey Plaza has changed little from the day of Kennedy’s assassination. There are several nearby monuments, such as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. There is also a small museum, known as the Sixth Floor Museum, in the adjacent Texas School Book Depository where Oswald is alleged to have hidden. This chronicles the life of John F Kennedy. The museum also offers audio guides to Dealey Plaza and nearby sites, which is included in the entry fee.

Photo by Zol87 (cc)

DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago looks at the history of Africans and Americans of African descent.

DID YOU KNOW?

The DuSable Museum of African American History is a museum in Chicago which explores the history and culture of African Americans. Its exhibits include several murals, paintings and sculptures representing prominent African Americans and an exhibit looking at the history of African Americans in the armed forces. The DuSable Museum also offers an insight into the civil rights movement from 1848 to 1968.

Photo by tiseb (cc)

Ellis Island

An iconic American historic site, Ellis Island is a famous island off New York City which served as an immigration centre from 1892 to 1954.

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Ellis Island was the entry point into the United States of America for over twelve million immigrants between 1892 and 1954.

Prior to this, Ellis Island had been owned by the state of New York and was purchased by the federal government in 1808, first for use as a fortification and, following the shift of immigration powers from individual states to the federal government in 1890, as the port for immigration into New York. Castle Garden (or Castle Clinton) had originally served this purpose, but more space was needed due to the increasing influx of mostly European migrants in the 19th century.

The Ellis Island Immigration Station which operates as a museum today was the second such building on the Island, completed in 1900 after the original burnt down.

Ellis Island served as a checking point for disease and legal issues of those incoming “steerage” passengers who could not afford a first or second ticket on the boats, as those with such tickets were considered unlikely to have any such issues.

Ellis Island was known as the “Island of Tears” for the two percent of migrants who were refused entrance to the US, usually due to being diagnosed with a contagious disease or considered likely to commit crime. In fact, Ellis Island was generally regarded as a symbol of hope, particularly with its location in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

After 1924, Ellis Island was mostly used as a detention centre, especially during World War II, by which time most immigration procedures were carried out in consulates.

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum offers a detailed insight into the island’s history, its role in the country’s immigration procedures and the stories of the immigrants. It is a celebration of immigration, including a wall of honour and many exhibits and artifacts. Ellis Island also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the USA.

Photo by Rob Shenk (cc)

Ellwood Plantation

The Ellwood Plantation is the site of General Stonewall Jackson’s arm which was buried there after he was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville.

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The Ellwood Plantation (Ellwood Cemetery) is the site of General Stonewall Jackson's arm, which was buried there after he was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville.

After being accidentally shot in darkness by fellow Confederates, Jackson's doctor Hunter Macguire amputated his left arm. It was placed in a grave in the Ellwood family cemetery and remains there to this day.

Jackson died a few days later from complications resulting from his wounds. He is buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

Photo by Ken Lund (cc)

Emerald Mound

The Emerald Mound site is a Mississippian culture period ancient mound built between 1250 and 1600AD and used as a ceremonial site and political center. One of many native American historic sites.

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The Emerald Mound is one of a number of ancient mound sites built by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Several similar sites have been found within Mississippi and in other areas of the United States.

One of the largest mounds in the US, the Emerald Mound site was likely constructed between 1250AD and 1600AD during the Mississippian culture period. It is thought that the site was used for ceremonial purposes and as a meeting place for local populations.  The site was later used by descendents of the peoples of the Mississippian culture, the Natchez, and became a major center of their culture.

After the arrival of Europeans to the area, the Emerald Mound site was abandoned and erosion has diminished much of what would have once been seen at the Emerald Mound site. However, stabalization work by the US National Park Service has helped to restore and preserve the structure.

A number of excavations of the site have taken place since the 19th century, revealing pottery, tools and the remains of animals.

Displays at the Emerald Mound site provide information on the history of the site and give a glimpse into the lives and culture of those who built and used the Emerald Mound.

Further information on the site can be found at the Mount Locust visitor center in the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Photo by Tony the Misfit (cc)

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall, known as the Cradle of Liberty, was the scene of protests leading up to the American War of Independence.

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Faneuil Hall in Boston was constructed in 1742 by wealthy merchant, Peter Faneuil and although it burnt down in 1761, was rebuilt the next year. Faneuil intended the brick building to be a centre of commerce, a function which it still fulfils today.

However, it was during the eighteenth century that Faneuil Hall served an important historical role in the build up to the American War of Independence.

Protest against British rule
As Bostonian discontent grew over British laws, protests took place and, in 1764, Faneuil Hall was the scene of the first of these protests, specifically objecting to the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act followed by further demonstrations against British legislation up to 1774.

Several famous Americans gave rousing speeches at Faneuil Hall, including Samuel Adams, whose statue stands at its entrance.

The weather vane
Faneuil Hall’s grasshopper weather vane is also famous in its own right, acting as it did as a test to check whether people were British spies during the American War of Independence. Only Americans were thought to have known its function and suspected spies were questioned about it. If they didn't know its purpose, they were considered spies. It remains a symbol of Boston.

Cradle of Liberty
Faneuil Hall is now known as the “Cradle of Liberty”. It underwent extensive renovations in 1806 and 1989 and today, much of Faneuil Hall is made up of shopping and social venues. However, many original features remain, including the meeting hall.

It is now part of the Boston’s Freedom Trail, which takes visitors through Boston’s history as it relates to the American War of Independence as well as forming part of the Boston National Historical Park.

Guided tours are conducted by the Freedom Trail organisation, but you can also visit independently. Historical talks take place every half an hour.

Photo by krispdk (cc)

Federal Hall

Federal Hall was the site of George Washington’s inauguration as president and the ratification of the Bill of Rights and as such ranks among the most important of all US historical sites.

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Federal Hall was the site of George Washington’s inauguration as first president of the United States, where the Bill of Right was ratified and the place where newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger was tried and acquitted of libel for exposing government corruption, thus affirming the notion of freedom of the press.

These events took place in the first incarnation of Federal Hall, which was built in 1700. This building was torn down at the beginning of the nineteenth century and replaced with the current structure in 1842. At the time, it served as the first US Customs House before becoming home to a branch of the US sub-treasury.

Now known as the Federal Hall National Memorial, the site serves as a museum of its history and that of George Washington. Amongst its exhibits, Federal Hall displays the George Washington inaugural bible, a slab of the original inaugural balcony and a portrait gallery of the first president. There is also an exhibit dedicated to the freedom of the press.

Photo by ttarasiuk (cc)

Ford Theatre

Ford Theatre was the site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

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It was in Ford Theatre on the night of 14 April 1865 that well-known actor John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln.

A Confederate sympathiser and spy, Booth had originally planned to kidnap Lincoln, but instead shot the President in the back of the head as he watched Ford Theatre’s production of “Our American Cousin” from the state box (box seven). President Lincoln was the first American President to be assassinated.

Ford Theatre is now an operating theatre house as well as a museum showcasing a variety of historical artifacts related to Lincoln’s presidency, his assassination and his life in Washington. Ford Theatre also stands across the street from Petersen House, where the President was taken following the shooting and where he subsequently died.

Photo by Ken Lund (cc)

Fort Caroline

Fort Caroline was a short-lived sixteenth century French colony in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Fort Caroline was a colony established by the French in the sixteenth century. Eager to gain a foothold in America and obtain a share of the wealth already attained by Spain, this was France’s first attempt to create such a settlement.

Permanent settlement in Fort Caroline began in 1546, expedited by the increasing desire by French Protestants, known as the Huguenots, to avoid persecution during the religious conflict which raged at home.

Initially, the French established good relations with the Timucua Indians who resided there and gained the Native Americans’ assistance in building their settlement. However, the goodwill did not last long and, within a year, the French settlers had run out of supplies.

The end of the French colony of Fort Caroline occurred soon afterwards when it was attacked by the Spanish. Of those two hundred who did not flee, only sixty survived. This marked the last major attempt by the French to create colonies in the country.

Today, as a National Park, Fort Caroline National Memorial pays homage to the French colony. Visitors can explore the site, including the monument to the explorer, Jean Ribault.

Photo by Sir Mildred Pierce (cc)

Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch in Florida is a nineteenth century Third System fort.

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Fort Clinch on Amelia Island in Florida is a fort built in 1847 as part of the Third System defence plan. The Third System was a plan instigated by the US government following the War of 1812 to improve the country’s coastal defences and, with its pentagonal shape and brick structure, Fort Clinch is a typical example of the fortifications constructed under this plan.

A Union base used to establish control of the coasts of Florida and Georgia during the American Civil War, Fort Clinch was occupied by Confederates for a short period and later recaptured by the Union. It was also later used during the Spanish-American War, only to be abandoned.

Today, Fort Clinch is part of the Florida State Parks network, allowing visitors to view the original building. Park rangers are on site to provide an insight into the building.

Photo by countryboy1949 (cc)

Fort Donelson Battlefield

Fort Donelson Battlefield was the scene of a major Union victory in the American Civil War.

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Fort Donelson Battlefield was the site of a fierce and pivotal battle fought from 11 to 16 February 1862 as part of the American Civil War. The two parties involved were the Unionists commanded by the then Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant and the Confederates, led by Brigadier General John B. Floyd.

Background
The Battle of Fort Donelson was preceded by the capture of Fort Henry in western Tennessee by Grant a few days earlier. Viewing this victory as a chance to invade the South, Grant moved his forces towards Fort Donelson on 12 February.

The Battle
After a number of probing attacks and a naval gunship battle won by the Confederates, the Unionists started gaining momentum, due in large part to the reinforcements amassed by Grant.

By 16 February, the Confederates had suffered major losses and Confederate Brigadier General Buckner asked Grant for terms to end the fighting. Grant’s now famous response was “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." And thus Buckner surrendered.

Aftermath
The Battle of Fort Donelson marked a significant win for the Unionists, breaking the South and forcing the Confederates to relinquish southern Kentucky as well as much of West and Middle Tennessee.

Grant was promoted to the rank of major general and nicknamed “Unconditional Surrender" Grant. His army would later be known as the Army of Tennessee.

Visiting Fort Donelson
Visitors to Fort Donelson Battlefield can learn more about the battle, its participants and its effects though a six mile self-guided tour as well as visiting the Fort Donelson cemetery.

It’s best to start at the Fort Donelson Battlefield visitor centre, which houses a number of exhibits and offers a short introductory film, giving an insight into the battle and a starting off point from which to plan your day.

Photo by Adam_d_ (cc)

Fort Frederica

Fort Frederica was an 18th century British fortification.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Frederica is a National Monument in the state of Georgia, USA which was originally established by the British General James Oglethorpe in 1736 to fortify a British settlement. It was named for the Prince of Wales, Frederick Louis.

At that time, what is now the state of Georgia – the area between Spanish Florida and British South Carolina – was known as the “Debatable Land” and was contested between the two nations.

Amidst this conflict, Fort Frederica played an important role, including the War of Jenkins’ Ear and the Battle at Bloody Marsh in 1742, which resulted in British victories.

Overall, Fort Frederica was a significant defensive point from which the British confirmed their rule over Georgia.

Today, what is left of Fort Frederica is part of the National Parks network. Visitors can view a film about the site, go on a self-guided tour of the fort and of the Bloody March battlefield and tour the museum.

Photo by expertinfantry (cc)

Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines was a fortification used in the American Civil War.

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Fort Gaines is a nineteenth century fortification on Dauphin Island, Alabama.

The island itself has a rich history, having been a French, British and Spanish colony and once having been called “Massacre Island” due to the large number of remains found there by a sixteenth century French explorer. It came under American control in 1813.

Construction of Fort Gaines began in 1821, as part of the Third System plan to shore up the country’s seacoast defences. The fort was plagued with problems, not least that it was often flooded. Thus, Fort Gaines was later rebuilt between 1853 and 1862, the latter part of the work done by Confederate soldiers due to the breakout of the American Civil War.

During the Civil War, Fort Gaines played an important role in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Fort Gaines went on to have roles in the Spanish-American War and as a base during the First and Second World Wars.

Today, Fort Gaines is under the remit of the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board.

Fort Hamilton

Fort Hamilton is a Third System Fort, a US military base and home to the Harbor Defense Museum.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Hamilton is a US military base in New York built between 1825 and 1831 as part of the city’s Third System defences. The Third System forts were coastal defences built in the US following the War of 1812.

Even before its construction, the site on which Fort Hamilton was built had already proven a vital strategic point. It was here that, on 4 July 1776, American forces attempted, but ultimately failed, to stop British forces from bringing in ships to quell the American Revolutionary War. Then, in the War of 1812, this was where American forces repelled British ships from docking.

As a garrisoned post, Fort Hamilton hosted some of the most famous figures in US history, including Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. It would go on to become a Union fortification in the American Civil War and an embarkation site in both world wars.

Today, Fort Hamilton is an active military base as well as housing New York’s only military museum, the Harbor Defense Museum. At this museum, visitors can see a range of historic weaponry, uniforms and exhibits such as about the Battle of Brooklyn.

It’s worth noting that Fort Hamilton was only named as such in the twentieth century, its namesake being Secretary of the Treasury from 1789 to 1795, Alexander Hamilton.

Fort Macon

Fort Macon is a nineteenth century fort which was captured by the Union in 1862 during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Macon in Carteret County, North Carolina was one of a series of forts originally built to protect the state’s main deep ocean port, known as the Beaufort Inlet.

The perceived threat was from countries such as Spain and Britain, who had both invaded the port in the eighteenth century. Whilst several attempts had been made before Fort Macon, they had been incomplete or unsuccessful.

In fact, Fort Macon was built in the aftermath of the War of 1812, as part of the Third System plan to protect America’s seacoasts. A sturdy five sided structure of brick and stone, construction of Fort Macon began in 1826 and, by 1834, the fortification was garrisoned.

However, the first major battle at Fort Macon was not with another country, but during the American Civil War. Initially seized by Confederate forces, Fort Macon was later recaptured by the Union in the Battle of Fort Macon, which occurred between 23 March and 26 April 1862. By this time, the fort was unable to withstand the new developments in weaponry, something which had blighted all Third System structures.

Fort Macon was later used as a base in World War Two. Today, it is part of a state park, in which visitors can tour the fort.

Photo by sneakerdog (cc)

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry was the site of a siege during the War of 1812 and the inspiration for the American National Anthem.

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Fort McHenry in Baltimore was originally constructed as a defensive structure between 1799 and 1802. It was named after James McHenry, the Secretary of War from 1796 to 1800. However it was in the War of 1812 that this five pointed star shaped brick building served its most famous role.

The War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a conflict between the US and Great Britain which lasted to 1815. It was partially ignited by the fact that the British, who were at war with France, had instigated blockades against the French which had hit American merchant ships.

From 13 to 14 September 1814, the British attacked Fort McHenry. Over 1,000 American soldiers defended Fort McHenry, managing to repel the British. This clash, known as the Battle of Baltimore, was the inspiration for the words of the “Star Spangled Banner”, written by observer, Sir Francis Scott Key. This song would become the American National Anthem.

Civil War Prison
Fort McHenry was also at the centre of controversy in the American Civil War when it was the site of imprisonment of John Merryman. Merryman, who was accused of burning bridges in Baltimore to impede Union soldiers, was held at Fort McHenry without the right to legal counsel and without being charged. This was against the constitutional right of Habeas Corpus – generally the right to either be charged with a crime or to be released. However, at that time, President Lincoln had suspended this right as an emergency measure in light of the war and refused to release Merryman.

Historic Site
Today, Fort McHenry is a national historic site. Visitors to Fort McHenry can learn about its history and tour the fort as well as viewing a film about the structure. A trip to Fort McHenry usually lasts around two hours, an hour of which is spent touring the building itself. Tours are self-guided.

Photo by hdroberts (cc)

Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens is an historic US military fort in Pensacola, Florida, named after Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens. It forms part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a site overseen by the National Park Service.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Pickens is an historic US military fort in Pensacola, Florida, named after Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens.

Begun in 1829, Fort Pickens was a Third System Fort intended to protect Pensacola Harbor, a role which it fulfilled together with Fort Barrancas and Fort McRee as well as the Navy Yard. In fact, when it was completed in 1834, Fort Pickens was the largest of the forts built for this purpose and it remained in use until 1947.

Over the course of its existence, Fort Pickens has seen a range of action, both military and otherwise, including in the Civil War. Indeed Pickens was one of just four southern forts to have evaded capture by the Confederates.

In 1886, Fort Pickens took on a new role as a prison for Apaches including Geronimo, the famous Apache Indian, was a prisoner there until 1888.

Today, Fort Pickens forms part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a site overseen by the National Park Service.

Photo by Ken Lund (cc)

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski is a nineteenth century fortification and the site of an important military test during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Pulaski in Georgia is a nineteenth century hexagonal brick fortification built between 1829 and 1847 as part of the Third System plan, although it would play a significant role in undermining this plan. The Third System was a defence system established following the War of 1812 to protect America’s seacoasts.

American Civil War
Ironically, the first threat to Fort Pulaski was not from overseas forces, but during the American Civil War. Under Confederate control from 1861 when Georgia seceded from the Union, Fort Pulaski was later largely abandoned by the Confederate army due to its isolated position. This left it open to Union attack and, after a long campaign of establishing batteries along the Tybee River, the Union Army demanded the surrender of the fort on 10 April 1862. The Confederates refused.

Changing American Military Architecture
Thus a battle ensued for Fort Pulaski and one which would change the way in which America built its defensive forces. The decisive element of the battle for Fort Pulaski was the use of a new weapon, the rifled cannon, by Union Captain Quincy A. Gilmore. Within 30 hours, the canon had breached the walls of Fort Pulaski and, on 11 April 1862, Confederate forces surrendered the site to the Union.

In fact, this was a pivotal moment in US military history. The fact that this weapon was able to penetrate Fort Pulaski at such a long distance rendered the fort obsolete and meant that never again did the American use brick defensive forts like it.

Civil War Prison

In 1864, Fort Pulaski also became the home, or rather the prison, of the Immortal Six Hundred, a group made up of 600 Confederate Prisoners of War. These imprisoned troops stayed in Fort Pulaski until March 1865, when those who had survived its dire conditions were transferred to Fort Delaware. Thirteen Confederate POW’s who died at the fort are buried near the fort on Cockspur Island.

Today, Fort Pulaski is part of the National Parks network, where visitors can explore the incredible architecture and gain an insight into this aspect of the American Civil War.

Photo by sarahstierch (cc)

Fort Raleigh

Fort Raleigh in North Carolina was the site of the famous English “lost colony” of Roanoke.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Raleigh is a National Historic Park located on Roanoke Island in North Carolina, the site of an English colony which was famously “lost”.

The "Lost" Colony
First established between 1584 and 1590, the English colony was a first attempt by the English to colonise the “New World”, a campaign spearheaded by Sir Walter Raleigh. However, this community of 116 people effectively ‘disappeared’, never to be heard from again. The fate of these men, women and children has never been revealed, remaining a mystery. A film about this historic event can be viewed at the visitor centre.

The Fort
The actual “fort” at Fort Raleigh, which is made up of earthworks, is a remnant of English colonisation and several sixteenth century items have been discovered there. Visitors can view this fort and learn more about its history. It is also worth noting that the first successful, permanent English colony was not established until 1607 - this can be viewed at Colonial National Park, Virginia.

Beyond the spectre of Fort Raleigh’s colonial past, the site boasts a wealth of history, including that of Native Americans. Visitors to Fort Raleigh can explore the culture of the Native Americans who lived there.

American Civil War
In the American Civil War, Fort Raleigh was the site of a modest battle known as the Battle of Roanoke Island, in which the Union captured the island from the Confederates in February 1862. Whilst this battle was relatively small, it did add to the momentum of the Union efforts.

Furthermore, following the battle, Fort Raleigh became the site of a “Freedmen’s Colony”, an experimental plan whereby African Americans were settled on the island. The community established at Roanoke thrived, but at the end of the war, the land was returned to its original owners.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Park offers a range of activities for adults and children to learn about its history.

Photo by fw_gadget (cc)

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter was the site where the American Civil War officially began on 12 April 1861.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Sumter in South Carolina was originally built in the nineteenth century as part of the “Third System” plan to defend the coasts of America following the War of 1812 against the British. In fact, it would go on to become the site of the ignition of the American Civil War.

Build Up to the War
Following the election of Abraham Lincoln as the President of the United States in 1860, southern states began seceding from the Union, declaring a separate Confederate States of America. Whilst there were many reasons for the build up to this north-south conflict, the main issue was Lincoln’s opposition to slavery and in particular to legislation such as the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.

South Carolina declared its secession on 20 December 1860. Despite this, Fort Sumter was originally held by the Union under the command of Major Robert Anderson. Anderson had moved his forces from the nearby Fort Moultrie to the previously sparsely defended Fort Sumter six days after the secession. This was seen as a hostile act by the Confederates.

The Siege
Tensions mounted over this move, resulting in a siege of Fort Sumter by the Confederates against the Union. Supplies at Fort Sumter began running low and, despite negotiations, an agreement failed to be reached.

The War Begins
On the morning of 12 April 1861, the Confederates fired upon Fort Sumter, signaling the start of the American Civil War. Following 34 hours of bombardment, the Union surrendered Fort Sumter. They would not recapture it for a further four years.

Today, Fort Sumter is open to the public as part of the National Parks network. Visitors can hear a ten minute ranger talk about the site before embarking on a self-guided tour.

Photo by Mercedea (cc)

Fort Taylor

Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida is a nineteenth century Third System fortification.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida was originally constructed following the War of 1812, in a plan known as the Third System in order to defend America’s coasts.

Its construction began in 1845 and was completed in 1866, although further changes were made to Fort Taylor during the Spanish-American Wars. Its namesake is US President Zachary Taylor.

Fort Taylor was not the site of any significant battles in the American Civil War and was under Union control.

Today, Fort Taylor is part of a Florida State Park, with ranger guided tours of the fort available daily at noon and 2:00pm.

Photo by dsearls (cc)

Fort Warren

Fort Warren on George’s Island in Boston was a fortification built during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fort Warren on George’s Island in Boston was built by the Union during the American Civil War as a defensive structure. It was one of the ‘Third System’ plan forts intended to defend the seacoast.

Fort Warren is an impressive granite building which was completed in 1861. Unfortunately, by this time, the fortifications of Fort Warren were obsolete, rendering it useless for its intended purpose. As such, Fort Warren went on to become a prison for Confederate prisoners of war as well as a training facility. It was finally decommissioned in 1947. Today, Fort Warren is part of Boston Harbour Islands National Park, which offers guided tours of the site.

Fortress Rosecrans

Fortress Rosecrans was built by Unionist solders in 1863 following the Battle of Stones River.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fortress Rosecrans was a fortified structure built by the Army of the Cumberland following the Battle of Stones River in 1863. It was named after General William S. Rosecrans, who led the men during this battle. Fortress Rosecrans went on to become a vital base through which the Union army passed supplies in their campaign to capture nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Today, little is left of this site, but it can be viewed as part of a trip to Stones River Battlefield.

Photo by luisvilla (cc)

Fraunces Tavern

Fraunces Tavern is a museum of colonial, revolutionary and early Republic US history.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fraunces Tavern is famous for being the site where (then General) George Washington delivered a farewell speech to the Continental Army after the British had left New York in the American Revolution.

Built as the home of an affluent merchant in 1719, Frances Tavern was turned into a working tavern in 1762 by its namesake Samuel Fraunces. The tavern thrived and became the meeting place of revolutionary groups. After the revolution, the government rented parts of Fraunces Tavern as offices.

Purchased by the Sons of the Revolution in 1904, Fraunces Tavern was restored to its colonial form and has since operated as a museum. Visitors to the Fraunces Tavern Museum can view exhibits about the history of New York and of the building itself, from Colonial times through to the Revolution and the early years of the Republic.

Photo by Rob Shenk (cc)

Fredericksburg Battlefield

Fredericksburg Battlefield is an important site of the American Civil War, where the Confederates defeated the Unionists in a fierce battle in 1862.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fredericksburg Battlefield in Virginia was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg, a major clash between the Unionists led by General Ambrose E. Burnside and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia led by General Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. It took place between 11 and 15 December 1862 near the heart of the Confederate capital in Richmond.

Burnside, who had been newly appointed to replace General McClellan, had planned to launch a surprise attack on the Confederates, but was severely compromised by a series of administrative errors. Most heinous of these was the slow arrival of floating bridges which the Union troops needed in order to cross the Rappahannock River. The delay in receiving those bridges lost the Union Army of the Potomac its element of surprise and allowed the Confederates plenty of time to amass their troops in the area.

The result was a series of frantic attempts by the Unionists to regain their advantage. Several attempts were made to cross the river and gain ground, but each was deflected by the Confederates. Both sides fought fiercely, but in the end the Battle of Fredericksburg resulted in a decisive Confederate victory, with 12,653 Union casualties to 5,377 Confederate casualties.

Visitors to Fredericksburg Battlefield are presented with an incredible number of tours including walking, guided, driving, audio and even virtual tours. From the Sunken Road, which acted as a natural trench and the original stone wall to Telegraph Hill or “Lee Hill” and its many monuments, Fredericksburg Battlefield offers an in-depth insight into both the battle itself and the war as a whole.

As part of the larger Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Fredericksburg Battlefield is surrounded by history. Those planning to visit Fredericksburg Battlefield can expect to spend at least half a day there. The audio tour alone lasts three hours. Having said this, the official National Parks website has suggestions for shorter and longer trips and the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Centre does offer a good overview of the battle.

It is also worth noting that visitors can learn about the Second Battle of Fredericksburg, which took place in Marye's Heights on 3 May 1863 as part of the Chancellorsville Campaign.

Photo by shinya (cc)

General Grant National Memorial

The General Grant National Memorial in New York is the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant.

DID YOU KNOW?

The General Grant National Memorial, more commonly known as Grant’s Tomb, in New York is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant.

Ulysses S. Grant was the eighteenth President of the United States, first elected in 1868 and again in 1872. A fierce military leader, Grant led the Union forces to victory in Civil War battles such as Vicksburg and Chattanooga before claiming the ultimate victory – the surrender of Confederate forces – at Appomattox in 1865. In fact, Grant was already a veteran by the time he served in the American Civil War, having also served in the Mexican Wars.

Grant’s Tomb is a vast peak-domed complex in New York in which visitors can see this famous general’s tomb and learn more about his life and achievements. In fact, it is North America’s largest tomb.

Visitors to the General Grant National Memorial can embark on self-guided tours and there are also free public tours hourly from 11am to 3pm.

Photo by The Consortium (cc)

Getty Villa

The Getty Villa is a museum dedicated to the ancient world.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Getty Villa is a museum of Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan artefacts and works of art.

Located in Pacific Palisades, California, it displays a collection of antiquities from each of these periods in a thematic exploration of ancient life, culture, religion and even war.

The Getty Villa is itself a reconstruction of a typical ancient villa as well as including a reconstructed theatre.

Photo by fauxto_digit (cc)

Gettysburg Battlefield

Scene of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the fiercest and most important battles in the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Gettysburg National Military Park in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is brimming with approximately 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials relating to the American Civil War.

In fact, Gettysburg was just a small town until the summer of 1863, when it became the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the war between General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army and General George Meade’s Union Army of the Potomac.

The Battle of Gettysburg raged from 1 to 3 July 1863, resulting in over 51,000 casualties and victory for Meade and the Unionists. It marked a significant turning point in the war, followed twenty one months later by Lee’s surrender.

Visitors can follow the route of Battle of Gettysburg, from Seminary Ridge and Culp's Hill to Cemetery Ridge and Devils Den as well as visiting David Wills' house, a museum about the town.

The National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center is a good place to start as it contains a wide range of Civil War related information as well as a plethora of guided tours and exhibitions. The Soldiers’ National Cemetery also offers a draw, being the location of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. This site features as one of our Top Ten US tourist Attractions.

Photo by Directory of Boston (cc)

Granary Burial Ground

Granary Burial Ground is a graveyard founded in the 17th century and where many famous Americans are buried.

DID YOU KNOW?

Granary Burial Ground is a graveyard in Boston founded in 1660 and is the final resting place of many important figures from the American Revolution.

While Granary Burial Ground contains around 2,345 tombs and graves, the actual number of people buried here is estimated to be approximately 5,000, due to the use of mass burial sites, such as the Infant’s Tomb number 203, which is thought to include over 500 children.

Amongst its famous residents lie Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine, the three signatories of the Declaration of Independence, the lawyer James Otis, who spoke out against Writs of Assistance at the Old State House and Peter Faneuil, who was the wealthy merchant who built Faneuil Hall, the site of many pre-revolution protests.

The five victims of the Boston Massacre of 1770 are also buried at Granary Burial Ground as are Benjamin Franklin’s parents, whose tomb is furnished with a large obelisk.

Granary Burial Ground forms part of the Freedom Trail which highlights significant sites from the American War of Independence. Granary Burial Ground houses a fascinating mix of historic icons, ordinary Bostonians and modern dignitaries.

Photo by Historvius

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

As well as being the one-time home of Ernest Hemingway, this was the studio where the author worked on many of his famed tomes, among them A Farewell to Arms. Now known as The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, it is restored and open to the public.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center was both a home and studio to renowned author Ernest Hemingway. It was from 1927 to 1940, during his marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer, that Hemingway spent much time here at his second wife’s family home. In fact, the barn of the home was converted into a studio for him and it was here that he worked on many a famed tome, among them parts of A Farewell to Arms.

Today The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center has been restored and is open to the public. It has been listed on the National Historic Register since 1982. The main themes explored revolve around the world in the 1930’s, revolving around matters relating to world issues and social history of the time.

Photo by sarahstierch (cc)

Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne was the location of the first successful English colony in America in 1607. One of the most historically significant US historical sites.

DID YOU KNOW?

It was in Historic Jamestowne in 1607 that the English established their first successful colony in America. Previous attempts, notably that of Roanoke in 1587, had been made, but the colony the English formed in Historic Jamestowne was the root of what was to eventually become America.

Due to its strategic location, Jamestown was also vitally important during the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

Today, Historic Jamestowne forms part of Colonial National Park, a historic site which encompasses York Town Battlefield, Colonial Parkway and the Cape Henry Memorial. Through guided ranger tours, hikes, exhibits and self-guided tours, visitors can explore the place’s history and that of the country as a whole.

Amongst its many attractions, it is worth seeing the Jamestown Glasshouse, a recreation of the first industrial building of the Virginia Company, the London-based company that founded the colony. This site features as one of our Top 10 US tourist attractions.

Photo by Historvius

Historic St Mary’s City

The historic St Mary's City in Maryland was once a thriving colonial capital before religious dissention saw it slowly decline. Today, a living history recreation and museum tell the story of these early settlers.

DID YOU KNOW?

The historic St Mary's City in Maryland is the site of the fourth oldest permanent British settlement in Colonial North America and birthplace of religious tolerance in the US.

Founded in 1634 by Leonard Calvert, St. Mary's City quickly became a prosperous tobacco colony and capital of Maryland. It was here in 1649 that the historic Maryland Toleration Act was passed, designed to ensure equality between Trinitarian Christians.

The city remained an important social, economic and political hub until 1689, when it was itself torn apart by sectarian tensions. After the British government stepped in, the capital of Maryland was moved to Annapolis and St Mary's City quickly declined and was all but abandoned.

However, the unique story of this early colonial city has left it with a fascinating legacy. Whereas most early settlements of this size continued to grow, St Mary’s City was largely lost in its original form, leaving an archaeological legacy which has since been discovered and preserved.

Today, St Mary’s City is a National Historic Landmark formed of living history recreations of 17th century life as well as a fascinating museum documenting the history and archaeological finds of the area.

The site features reconstructed colonial buildings as well as a working 17th century tobacco plantation. These hands-on recreations are designed to give a real understanding of what life would have been like for these early pioneers.

Photo by GOC53 (cc)

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is a Native American historic site featuring five villages dating back to the Puebloan-era.

DID YOU KNOW?

Hovenweep National Monument is a Native American historic site featuring five villages dating back to the Puebloan-era.

The ancestral Pueblo people inhabited the area of Hovenweep National Monument as early as 10,000 years ago. Proper settlement began in circa 900AD, but the main sites found there today were built mostly between 1230 and 1275.

At this time, the Hovenweep site was that of Puebloan farming villages with a population of more than 2,500 people. However, it was also abandoned in the 13th century, probably due to drought, although the exact reason is unclear.

Today, there are a wide range of Puebloan structures still evident at Hovenweep National Monument, the main ones of which are a set of square towers. Beyond these there are also circular towers and what may have been ceremonial sites known as kivas as well as dwellings.

A visit to Hovenweep National Monument starts at the visitor center and there are many ways to see the site, including several hiking trails.

Photo by gfoster67 (cc)

Hyde Hall

Hyde Hall is a restored neoclassical nineteenth century house in New York and a museum of its own past.

DID YOU KNOW?

Hyde Hall is a restored neoclassical nineteenth century house in New York and a museum of its own past.

Built by an Englishman named George Clarke (1768-1835), Hyde Hall went on to become the home of several generations of the Clarke family before becoming state property. Today, this historic home is a good place to discover the culture of rural Anglo-Americans during the early years of the Republic.

Photo by techfun (cc)

Independence Hall - Philadelphia

Independence Hall is the site where the The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed and is among the most important historical sites in America.

DID YOU KNOW?

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the most important landmarks in US history, being the site where the nation declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on 4 July 1776 by signing the Declaration of Independence.

Completed in 1753, Independence Hall served as Philadelphia’s State House and the meeting place of the Second Continental Congress. Independence Hall was also the scene of debates and deliberations as to the Constitution of the United States as well the place where the Constitution was signed on 14 May 1787. Although the original copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are now both housed at the National Archives in Washington, visitors can still see the places where they were each signed.

Independence Hall is now part of Independence National Historical Park, which also encompasses a myriad of important sites such as Congress Hall and Liberty Bell Centre sprawled over 55 acres within the City of Philadelphia.

Visitors can choose from a variety of ranger guided walking tours as well as various indoor and outdoor activities. Across the road is the Liberty Bell Centre, housing the famous Liberty Bell, one of the most significant symbols of the American Civil War and formerly hung in Independence Hall’s tower. Congress Hall is next door to Independence Hall.

This site features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the United States.

Photo by lindseywb (cc)

Independence National Historical Park

Independence Hall is the site where the The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed.

DID YOU KNOW?

Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to a plethora of significant national landmarks in the US.

From Independence Hall which was the site where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed and Congress Hall, seat of Congress from 1790 to 1800, to the home of Benjamin Franklin, Independence Park offers visitors in-depth insight into the founding of the United States of America.

Independence National Historical Park is spread over 55 acres within the City of Philadelphia and offers visitors a variety of ranger guided walking tours as well as various indoor and outdoor activities.

Photo by Rob Shenk (cc)

Jackson Shrine

Guinea Station, the lone white building where General Thomas ’Stonewall’ Jackson died.

DID YOU KNOW?

After being wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Stonewall Jackson was taken to the Chandler Plantation in Virginia and placed in an outbuilding.

His arm was amputated and he developed pneumonia. After his wife and baby arrived, he passed away on a Sunday afternoon in one of the small plantation buildings.

He is buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

 

Photo by Smart Destinations (cc)

Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is a museum of the history, culture and heritage of Japanese Americans.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Japanese American National Museum is a museum of the history, culture and heritage of Japanese Americans.

Whilst it has several temporary and travelling exhibits, the main exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum is called "Common Ground". This tells the story of 130 years of the history, from the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II back to the days of early immigration.

From objects and artefacts to photos, documents and videos, the Japanese American National Museum displays an interesting collection.

Photo by Kevin Burkett (cc)

Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a Roman style memorial structure in honour of one of America’s Founding Fathers.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC’s West Potomac Park was built in 1939 to honour President Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and its third president.

With its white facade, imposing columns and circular silhouette crowned by a dome, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is reminiscent of the Roman Pantheon, as intended by its architect, John Russell Pope. The concept of building a memorial to Thomas Jefferson was first mooted by President Franklin Roosevelt and construction of the memorial began on 15 December 1938.

Despite some controversy over the memorial’s design and location, the build continued and Thomas Jefferson Memorial was dedicated by President Roosevelt on 13 April 1943. The bronze sculpture of Thomas Jefferson inside the memorial, made by Rudulph Evans, was added in 1947. It stands next to excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, which Jefferson co-authored in 1776.

Today, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a popular tourist attraction as well as a setting of festivals and ceremonies. Open 24 hours a day, it is located near many other sites of historical importance and is directly south of the White House.

Photo by roy.luck (cc)

Klondike Gold Rush Museum

The Klondike Gold Rush Museum explores the history of Seattle as it relates to this 19th century gold rush.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Klondike Gold Rush Museum explores the history of Seattle as it relates to this 19th century gold rush.

In the late 1890’s - a time of great economic depression - gold was discovered in the Yukon gold fields, leading people from all over to converge on the area in what has been described as a stampede. This was the Klondike Gold Rush and its story is told at the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which is part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

From the sense of optimism and adventure inspired by the gold rush to the hardship and adversity experienced by those wishing to take advantage of it, the Klondike Gold Rush Museum looks at different aspects of this event.

The Klondike Gold Rush Museum has a range of exhibits about this event and is a good starting point for learning about this historic event. There are also walking tours of the historic district.

Photo by journeyguy (cc)

Lakeport Plantation

The Lakeport Plantation in Arkansas is a 19th century historic house which has recently been restored and opened to visitors.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Lakeport Plantation in Arkansas is an Antebellum-style historic house which has recently been restored and opened to visitors.

Originally built by Lycurgus and Lydia Johnson in 1859, the house was the heart of the larger plantation. Built in the style known as Antebellum (meaning "pre war") the architecture is characterised by Greek revival-style houses and mansions.

Just a few years after it was built, the area in which the Lakeport Plantation resides suffered due to the hardships of the US Civil War. Foraging troops and economic disruption combined with the post-war turmoil to leave the area in severe difficulties. However, the Lakeport Plantation did manage to survive the period and the house continued to be used after the war.

In 1927 the Johnson family sold the house to Sam Epstein, a Jewish-Russian immigrant who had amassed considerable wealth after coming to the United States. The Lakeport Plantation was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and in 2001 the Epstein family gifted the house to Arkansas State University, who restored it and now run the house as a publicly accessible historic site.

Photo by Historvius

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a Greek temple style monument honouring the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Lincoln Memorial is a Greek style monument in Washington DC’s West Potomac Park.

The Lincoln Memorial was built to honour President Abraham Lincoln, who was the sixteenth President of the United States of America, serving during the American Civil War, a fact that is commemorated above the giant statue of Lincoln inside the memorial with the words “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”.

President Lincoln was assassinated by a actor and Confederate spy, John Wilkes Booth, at Ford Theatre on 14 April 1865.

Whilst a committee for the establishment of a memorial to Abraham Lincoln was first incorporated in 1867, authorisation for the monument was not given until 1911 and construction only began on 12 February 1914. The build was also a lengthy process and Lincoln Memorial was finally dedicated on 30 May 1922.

The Lincoln Memorial was designed by the architect, Henry Bacon, who also sculpted the statue of Lincoln which visitors can see within its walls.

As the site of many important political speeches and events, Lincoln Memorial has a history of its own, independent from its original purpose. In particular, it was the site where Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech on 28 August 1963.

Lincoln Memorial stands majestically in National Mall and Memorial Parks, overseen by the National Parks Service and surrounded by other important historical sites. Visitors are free to enter the memorial at all times and it can often become quite crowded.

Photo by ttarasiuk (cc)

Lincoln Tomb

Lincoln Tomb is the burial place of President Abraham Lincoln.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lincoln Tomb in Springfield, Illinois, is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln, born 12 April 1809, was the country’s first Republican president and led the Union during the American Civil War. His Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 resulted in the abolition of slavery. His term as president ran from March 1861 until 14 April 1865, when he died after being shot at Ford Theatre.

Abraham Lincoln is buried at Lincoln Tomb, which is now also the resting place of his wife and three of his four sons. Visitors to Lincoln Tomb can enter the 117-foot brick and granite structure and learn about Lincoln through his own speeches, which are displayed throughout.

Photo by SeattleRay (cc)

Little Bighorn Battlefield

Little Bighorn Battlefield was the site of “Custer’s Last Stand” in June 1876 and is among the most infamous US historical sites.

DID YOU KNOW?

Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana played an important role in the Great Sioux War, a conflict between the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Native Americans and the US government and which was part of an era known as the American-Indian Wars.

The Lakota-Northern Cheyenne people had previously been ordered to sign the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, a document which stated that they had to cease their nomadic traditions and be confined to an area known as the Great Sioux Reservation. A significant minority refused to sign this treaty and lived in an area called the Black Hills, in contravention of its terms.

President Ulysses S. Grant then declared that anybody living in the Black Hills was to be considered hostile to the government unless they returned to the reservation and troops were ordered to engage the dissenters. Lieutenant Colonel Custer and his 7th Cavalry were part of one of the three forces sent to confront the Native Americans.

On 25 June 1876, Custer and around a quarter of his men - for he had divided them into four units - converged on Little Bighorn. The entire unit, including Custer, were killed in the clash, leading to the battle being known as ’Custer’s Last Stand’.

In fact, the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek, was a victory for the Native Americans and yet in the period that followed, they lost much of their traditional way of life.

Little Bighorn Battlefield is now a National Park, dedicated to commemorating the events of the battle and the conflict of which it formed part. It includes an Indian Memorial, the Custer National Cemetery and offers guided talks exploring the conflict.

Photo by Rob Shenk (cc)

Lookout Mountain Battlefield

Lookout Mountain Battlefield was the scene of a pivotal battle in the Chattanooga campaign in the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lookout Mountain Battlefield is the site where General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army to victory over the Confederate forces of General Braxton Bragg in what some know as the “Battle in the Clouds”. This battle formed part of the campaign to control nearby Chattanooga, considered to be the gateway to the South.

The Lookout Mountain Battle followed the Battle of Chickamauga, which the Confederates had won and this latest victory was essential to secure Union control of the South. Lookout Mountain Battlefield forms part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which is brimming with monuments as well historical trails and markers. And, of course, the views are great.

It is also well worth seeing James Walker’s painting, aptly called “Battle of Lookout Mountain”. You can find this as well as other exhibits at the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Centre.

Photo by flickr4jazz (cc)

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum tells the story of the building at 97 Orchard Street and the thousands of immigrants who lived there.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York tells the story of the building at 97 Orchard Street and the over 7,000 immigrants who lived there in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Various themed tours are offered, allowing visitors to discover the experiences of the working class individuals and families who immigrated to America at these times and resided at 97 Orchard.

Neighbourhood walking tours are also available, looking at the history of the Lower East Side.

Photo by Su-Laine (cc)

Martin Luther King Jr National Site

The Martin Luther King Jr National Site explores the life of the leader of the African-American civil rights movement.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Martin Luther King Jr National Site in Atlanta, Georgia is dedicated to commemorating the life of the leader of the African-American civil rights movement and chronicling his campaign for racial equality.

Born on 15 January 1929, Martin Luther King Jr was a Baptist minister who came to lead a non-violent movement for equality amongst races in the United States. He is most widely remembered for the March on Washington, a demonstration in August 1963 which culminated in his “I have a dream” speech.

In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr won a Nobel Prize for his work in battling racial segregation. He was the youngest ever person to receive this award.

Visitors to the Martin Luther King Jr Historic Site can visit Dr and Mr’s King’s crypt at the King Centre, view his birthplace and see exhibitions and films about Dr King’s life and the civil rights movement. There are also exhibits about Gandhi, who inspired Dr King and about Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus was an iconic event of the movement.

Most of the tour is self guided, except for those who visit Dr King’s birthplace, which is led by a ranger (only fifteen people admitted per tour). This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions of the United States.

Photo by Ken Lund (cc)

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is an incredibly well preserved and stunning collection of archaeological sites of the Native American Pueblo people dating back to 600 AD.

DID YOU KNOW?

Mesa Verde National Park or “green table” national park is a breathtaking Native American site dotted with over 4,000 archaeological treasures, including 600 exceptionally well preserved cliff dwellings dating back to 600 AD.

Mesa Verde National Park was once the home of the Pueblos, a Native American people who lived there for over 700 years before migrating to New Mexico and Arizona. Made of sandstone, mortar and wooden beams, the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde sprawl across the beautiful landscape, some built on the mesa tops.

Some of the sites, such as the Cliff Palace and Balcony House with its over 150 rooms can only be viewed as part of a ranger tour, for which you can buy tickets at Far View Visitor Center before attending the sites. It’s also well worth viewing the large collection of artifacts on display.

At over 52,000 acres, it would be easy to spend days exploring Mesa Verde National Park and in fact it takes two hours alone to drive into and out of the park. You should plan to spend at least four hours here, during which you should start at the Far View Visitors Centre, perhaps moving onto the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum and Spruce Tree House or to the Mesa Top Loop Road.

The National Park Service website contains a variety of itinerary suggestions for different timescales. There are plans to replace the Far View Visitor Centre with a new centre and research facility in the entrance to the park. It is also well worth looking up opening times as many of the attractions are seasonal. This site features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the United States.

Photo by redjar (cc)

Minute Man National Historical Park

Minute Man National Historical Park is the home of the first battle of the American Revolution.

DID YOU KNOW?

Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts, USA commemorates the start of the American Revolution.

The American Revolution began as a protest against the treatment of the Americans as British subjects and turned into an eight year war for American independence.

Minute Man National Park includes the Battle Road Trail, the site of the first battle of the American Revolution which took place on 19 April 1775. Visitors can hike this trail or drive parts of it and a guided walk starts every day at 12:30pm from the Minute Man Visitor Centre. The next site along the way is Hartwell Tavern, a traditional pre-revolution homestead followed by The Wayside, the former home of Louisa May Alcott and other literary giants. You can only visit the Wayside with a guided tour.

Also found at Minute Man National Park is the North Bridge, the site of a famous battle commemorated in a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson as the location of the “shot heard round the world”. Rangers are on hand here to offer a twenty minute talk.

Minute Man National Park is named after the Minute Men, the volunteer American militia who fought for their country. Visitors can plan their itinerary by starting their day at the Minute Man Visitor Centre, which also includes an introduction to the war via a multimedia presentation. There is also a North Bridge Visitor Centre, which holds a brass cannon called The Hancock. Guided tours and ranger programs are also available as are audio guides.

Minuteman Missile Silo

The Minuteman Missile Silo complex is a Cold War missile site containing a control center and missile launch site.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Minuteman Missile Silo is a US National Historic Site which contains a Cold War missile launch site and control center.

Visitors can tour both the control center and missile site, and can see the original living quarters and underground control facilities that would have been used by the original personnel. The tours then move on to the missile silo itself where visitors can view a Minuteman II missile through a glass roof.

The Minuteman Missile Silo site was one of many such sites which operated for over 30 years during the Cold War. Eventually, these sites were decommissioned after the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991.

The original missile site was vast and today the main attractions are spread out over a wide area.

Visitors should start their journey from the contact station where guided tours are available (note: it is advisable to book in advance as space is limited). It is also possible to view the missile site independently, visitors can call a number from their phones to access a recorded tour.

Photo by subarcticmike (cc)

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle is a 12th century cliff dwelling in Arizona.

DID YOU KNOW?

Montezuma Castle in Arizona, USA is a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua Indians in around 1100AD and occupied until approximately 1425AD.

Occupying an area of around 4,000 square feet, Montezuma Castle is an eminently impressive five storey limestone and mud structure demonstrating the ingenuity of the Sinagua people.

Unfortunately, the public cannot actually enter Montezuma Castle and have not been able to do so since 1951. Those interested in its history and excavation can visit the onsite museum.

Monticello

Monticello was the creation and long-time home of Thomas Jefferson.

DID YOU KNOW?

Monticello is an historic home which was the creation and long-time home of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the US and main author of its Declaration of Independence.

Under Jefferson, Monticello’s 5,000 acres of land was run as a plantation. While the first "version" of Monticello was built from 1770, today’s incarnation mostly dates back to when it was renovated and extended from circa 1790 to 1809 and remains in a similar state to when Jefferson lived there upon his retirement. He was also buried there.

Today, Monticello is a museum of its own history and that of Jefferson. It also tells the story of the slaves and freemen who worked there.

Together with the University of Virginia, Monticello is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Photo by Sebastian Bergmann (cc)

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is an iconic monument to four of the Presidents of the United States of America.

DID YOU KNOW?

Mount Rushmore is a granite mountain in Keystone, South Dakota carved with the heads of four of the Presidents of the USA.

Begun in 1927, the work to create Mount Rushmore was carried out by 400 sculptors. It was intended that each figure be shown from the waist upwards, but the project ended prematurely in 1941 when funds ran out.

The four figures represented at Mount Rushmore are the first US President and founding father George Washington (1732-1799), third president and also a founding father Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), sixteenth President Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) and twenty-sixth President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919).

There are guided tours of Mount Rushmore (30 mins) or visitors can rent an audio guide (30-120 mins). A trip to Mount Rushmore usually lasts around 2 hours.

Photo by pablo.sanchez (cc)

Museum of the Confederacy

The Museum of the Confederacy chronicles the history of the seceded states under the Confederate government.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Museum of the Confederacy chronicles the history of the seceded states under the Confederate government and tells the story of the Confederate army during the Civil War.

From photographs and manuscripts to items belonging to Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson and other artefacts, the Museum of the Confederacy offers a comprehensive insight into life in the Confederate States.

Beyond its three levels of galleries, the Museum of the Confederacy also has one exhibit of special interest - the original White House of the Confederacy. The official seat of President Jefferson Davis during the Confederacy, this neoclassical building, which forms part of the museum complex, has been restored and can be toured.

Photo by Ken Lund (cc)

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez in Mississippi contains a number of historic sites and places of note including a native Indian village and historic houses and churches.

DID YOU KNOW?

Natchez is an historic town in Mississippi which contains a number of interesting historic sites and locations.

Sites to visit include a Natchez Indian village, Jefferson College and the Natchez Museum of African American Heritage. Another site to visit in the surrounding area is the Emerald Mound.

Natchez also boasts a number of historic churches and historic homes.

Photo by Adam Jones PhD (cc)

National Civil Rights Museum

The site where the father of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr, was gunned down.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is the sight of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

It has in the last several years been turned into the National Civil Right Museum. Across the street from the motel is the building and room in which James Earl Ray fired the shots and this also forms part of the museum.

As well as examining the events that led to the assassination and the investigation that followed, the National Civil Rights Museum hosts a number of exhibitions chronicling key episodes of the US civil rights movement and its legacy.

Photo by bigbirdz (cc)

National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center is a museum dedicated to the history, development and modern meaning of the US Constitution.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Constitution Center is a museum dedicated to the history, development and modern meaning of the US Constitution.

Located in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center tells the story of this historic document, placing it into context including exploring important events in the nation’s past.

From traditional exhibits to films and interactive multimedia presentations, the National Constitution Center looks at the Constitution from a range of angles.

Photo by YoTuT (cc)

National Mall and Memorial Parks

National Mall and Memorial Parks house many of the most iconic historical sites in the United States of America.

DID YOU KNOW?

National Mall and Memorial Parks are run by the National Parks Service and are home to many of the US’s most famous historical landmarks including over eighty historic structures.

Numbered among these are the D.C. War Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, the George Mason Memorial and over sixty statues.

National Mall and Memorial Parks are also responsible for Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol, Constitution Gardens and East and West Potomac Parks.

National Mall and Memorial Parks are a popular tourist attraction and brimming with information relating to America’s history.

Photo by gorik (cc)

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History offers a diverse exploration of the nation’s history.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History offers a diverse exploration of the nation’s history, its collections ranging from public lives, to major national events and cultural elements such as areas of advertising and the cinema.

With over three million artifacts, the National Museum of American History covers everything from popular culture and entertainment to technology, military history and politics.

Some of the highlights of its exhibits include the actual Star Spangled Banner, Lincoln.s iconic top hat and, depending on your area of interest, the original Kermit the Frog Puppet.

More information is available at http://americanhistory.si.edu.

Photo by taberandrew (cc)

National Museum of American Jewish Military History

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History is dedicated to exploring the roles of Jewish Americans in US military history.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History is dedicated to exploring the roles of Jewish Americans in US military history.

This includes their contributions in the armed forces and in the fight against prejudice, particularly anti-Semitism.

Amongst the galleries within the National Museum of American Jewish Military History is its hall of heroes with its stories of bravery by Jewish Americans together with artefacts such as medals of honour.

There are exhibits about specific heroes such as the American World War I spy Major General Julius L. Klein and more general exhibits, such as the one looking at the efforts of Jewish GIs in post Second World War Europe.

National Museum of the American Indian - New York

The National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of Native Americans.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of Native Americans.

As part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian has around a million artifacts spanning various periods of history from the Paleo-Indian to the present and relating to many different tribes.

There are two main branches of the National Museum of the American Indian, one in New York City, the other in Washington DC.

National Museum of the American Indian - Washington

The National Museum of the American Indian explores the history and culture of Native Americans.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Museum of the American Indian explores the history and culture of Native Americans.

From Paleo-Indian artifacts to more modern pieces, the National Museum of the American Indian has around a million artifacts spanning various periods of history and relating to many different tribes.

The National Museum of the American Indian is part of the Smithsonian Institution and has branches in both Washington DC and New York City.

National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier explores the experiences of those who fought in the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Virginia explores the experiences of those who fought in the American Civil War.

In its main exhibit, "Duty Called Me Here", the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier offers an audio guided tour of artefacts, multimedia presentations and dioramas which aim to tell the story of what it was like to be a Civil War soldier. Within the exhibit is a battlefield simulation.

The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier also commemorates those who fought by way of its Remembrance Wall, with the names of all those who answered the call of duty. A visit usually lasts around 45 minutes.

National World War I Museum

The US National World War I Museum is a comprehensive museum of the history and legacy of this global conflict.

DID YOU KNOW?

The US National World War I Museum chronicles the events of the conflict that engulfed thirty-six countries around the globe from 1914 to - at least officially - 1919.

From the origins of the conflict to the experiences of those who went through it and its aftermath, the National World War I Museum explores all aspects of this "Great War".

In its main exhibition, the National World War I Museum offers an impressive range of information, objects and exhibits to tell this dramatic story. From symbolic elements such as a 9,000-strong poppy field, timelines and personal belongings of civilians to the imposing big guns, it’s all on display.

There are also several films and interactive elements as well as recreations of trench systems. Part of what makes the National World War I Museum so interesting is that its collection derives from all the countries involved in the war, providing a fascinating overview from all angles.

Beyond its extensive main exhibits, the National World War I Museum is also located within the Liberty Memorial, a national monument to the fallen of World War I. Those who visit the museum can climb the tower of this monument.

New York African Burial Ground

The New York African Burial Ground is a memorial to the tens of thousands of Africans once buried there.

DID YOU KNOW?

The New York African Burial Ground is a 6.6-acre area in Lower Manhattan where around 15,000 African slaves and free Africans were buried in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Hidden by development, the New York African Burial Ground was uncovered during construction works in 1991.

Today, the New York African Burial Ground is marked by a memorial monument and also has a nearby visitor centre containing exhibits about the site (in the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway).

New York City Hall

New York City Hall is the oldest city hall in the US still in continuous use.

DID YOU KNOW?

New York City Hall is the oldest city hall in the US still in continuous use, having been built between 1803 and 1812.

Its architects, Joseph Francois Mangin and John McComb, were chosen as a result of a competition.

Visitors can go on tours of New York City Hall, including seeing its collection of nineteenth century American paintings.

Old North Church - Boston

Old North Church played a vital role in igniting the American Revolution and is part of the Freedom Trail.

DID YOU KNOW?

Old North Church is Boston’s oldest church, having been built in 1723 in the Georgian style. Originally called Christ’s Church, Old North Church was also the tallest building in Boston at the time and thus came to serve an important role in the American Revolution.

In the eighteenth century, the British began confiscating American weapons in fear that increasing tension relating to their rule would lead to revolution. On 18 April 1775, British soldiers planned to travel via the Charles River to surprise suspected arms hoarders and confiscate more weapons. However, discovering the plan, silversmith Paul Revere was tasked with alerting his fellow Bostonians, which he did on his famous Midnight Ride.

Before Revere left however, the caretaker of Old North Church, Robert Newman, agreed to hold lanterns up from the church steeple as a sign just in case Revere was captured before he could deliver the message. Newman held the lanterns for just a brief time, but it was enough for both the Americans and the British to see, prompting an attempt to arrest Newman.

The events of that day served as the catalyst of the American Revolution. Today Old North Church is still an operating Episcopal house of worship as well as a museum where visitors can admire its architecture and see the window from which Newman fled from the British that fateful night. One can also hear the tolling of the oldest bells in America.

Old South Meeting House - Boston

Old South Meeting House was an important 18th century meeting place and the site where the Boston Tea Party began.

DID YOU KNOW?

Old South Meeting House started life in 1729, when it was built as a Puritan house of worship, with a congregation in which leaders such as Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin mingled with artists like the famous African American poet Phillis Wheatley.

A Forum for Dissent
As tensions grew about the British colonial government in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the Old South Meeting House became the home of free speech in Boston. As the largest building in the town, it was often used as an alternative to Faneuil Hall, which was the official town meeting hall. Therefore, in the 1760’s and 1770’s it came to be that the Old South Meeting House was the scene of many spirited protests against the British, their legislation and their stationed redcoats, sent in 1768.

The Boston Tea Party
On 6 March 1770, the day after the Boston Massacre, crowds gathered at the Old South Meeting House to object to the incident where British troops killed five citizens after shooting at a protest group. The culmination of these events and one of the most famous events in American history took place at the Old South Meeting House on 16 December 1773, during a heated debate over the British tea tax. Around 5,000 people had crowded into the hall to participate and, when the debate failed to reach a solution, Samuel Adams led the crowd to throw 342 chests of tea into the harbour at Griffin’s Wharf. This became known as the Boston Tea Party.

American Revolution and Beyond
During the American Revolution, the Old South Meeting Hall suffered devastating destruction when, upon occupying Boston, the British tore down most of the internal parts of the building and used it as a riding school. Since then, the Old South Meeting Hall has survived the 1872 Fire of Boston and escaped demolition, finally being purchased by the Old South Association in 1877. It now operates as a museum commemorating free speech and an audio tour which brings the dramatic pre-revolution meetings to life.

Old State House - Boston

The Old State House in Boston played an important role in the American Revolution and was where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Old State House in Boston played an important role in the American Revolution and is now one of the sites included in the Freedom Trail, a tourist trail made up of sixteen sites relating to the American Revolution against the British.

Construction
The Old State House was originally completed in 1713 and served the multiple functions of being a merchant’s hall and the seat of the colonial government. However, a fire in 1747 meant that it had to be rebuilt to a great extent in 1748 and further restoration and changes were made to the Old State House in 1830.

Before and During the American Revolution
In 1761, in part of what is known as Paxton’s Case, the Old State House was the scene of James Otis Junior’s famous speech against Writs of Assistance, British warrants which conferred wide search powers on their beneficiaries. Otis’s speech failed to extinguish these writs, but did add to the increasing dissatisfaction which eventually led to the American Revolution.

The Old State House was also part of the Boston Massacre of 1770, as attested to by a plaque beneath its balcony which indicates that this was the location where British soldiers fired into a group of Bostonians. This balcony was the scene of happier times on 18 July 1776, when Colonel Thomas Crafts read out the Declaration of Independence to the public for the first time.

Visiting
Today the Old State House is a museum of Boston’s history managed by the Bostonian Society as well as being part of Boston National Historical Park. Guided tours of the Freedom Trail - of which the State House forms a part - are available, but you can also walk it independently. A visit to the Boston’s Old State House tends to take half an hour to an hour.

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park was the site of an American Civil War battle on 20 February 1864 won by the Confederates.

DID YOU KNOW?

On 20 February 1864 at Olustee Battlefield, Union and Confederate troops clashed for five hours in what became Florida’s largest battle during the American Civil War. Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park now stands in commemoration of that historic battle and its 2,807 casualties.

It was the Confederates led by Brigadier General Joseph Finegan who emerged victorious, managing to break the line of the Union army led by Brigadier General Truman Seymour. In fact, the Battle of Olustee marked the Union army’s final incursion into the area until the war’s end a mere fourteen months later.

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park has a mile-long nature trail with markings and signposts about the battle as well as an Interpretive Centre with exhibits and artifacts relating to the event. Visitors to Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park can start their day at the park’s visitor centre, which has information about the site and activities.

Palo Alto Battlefield

Palo Alto Battlefield was the site of the first major clash of the Mexican-American War on 8 May 1846.

DID YOU KNOW?

Palo Alto Battlefield in Texas was the location of the first major battle of the Mexican-American War. This war was the culmination of heightened tension between the US and Mexico over territory, particularly Texas.

On 8 May 1846, the two sides confronted each other on Palo Alto Battlefield, with the US troops led by General Zachary Taylor managing to hold its ground against the forces of General Arista, who withdrew after suffering significant casualties.

Today, visitors can tour Palo Alto Battlefield and view exhibits and a film at the visitor centre.

Paul Revere House

Paul Revere House was the Boston home of Paul Revere, a silversmith who played a vital role in the American Revolution.

DID YOU KNOW?

Paul Revere House was the home of goldsmith/silversmith Paul Revere and his family from 1770 to 1800. In 1774 and 1775, during the build up to the American Revolution, Paul Revere was tasked as an express rider on behalf of the Massachusetts Committee of Safety and the Boston Committee of Correspondence.

This role would lead him to perform one of the most famous rides in American history. On the eve of 18 April 1775, Revere was called upon to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that British forces were on their way to detain them. It is Paul Revere whose famous words are said to have been “The British are coming!”, raising the alarm and allowing the Americans to prepare for battle.

Paul Revere was soon arrested himself, but later escaped and witnessed the Battle of Lexington. Purchased by Paul Revere’s grandson in 1902, Paul Revere House is now a museum about this patriotic icon, detailing his life and his famous midnight ride.

Paul Revere house has been reconstructed to look just as it would have in the eighteenth century and most of the architecture is original. Tours are self guided, with panels and explanations provided with plaques and illustrations. Paul Revere House also forms part of the Freedom Trail, a tour of all of Boston’s most famous American Revolution sites as well as being part of Boston National Historic Park.

Visits take approximately 30-45 minutes. Next door to Paul Revere House is the Pierce Hitchborn House, an authentic example of Georgian architecture.

Petersen House

Petersen House was the site where President Abraham Lincoln died in 1865 after being shot across the street at Ford Theatre.

DID YOU KNOW?

Petersen House was the boarding house where President Abraham Lincoln was taken after being shot across the road at Ford Theatre on the night of 14 April 1865. The President died the morning after arriving at Peterson House.

The Peterson House Museum offers its visitors a brief tour including the room where Lincoln died as well as viewing various historical artefacts relating to his assassination.

Visitors to Peterson House can also tour Ford Theatre, the scene of Lincoln’s assassination.

Plimoth Plantation

The Plimoth Plantation is a living museum which includes a recreated 1627 English village and a Wampanoag homesite.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Plimoth Plantation is a living museum which includes a recreated 1627 English village and a Wampanoag homesite.

The English village is the main attraction at the Plimoth Plantation and brings to life the 17th century farming settlement built by the colonists. Buildings have been recreated and the site is populated by actors who behave as its pilgrim inhabitants would have done, doing everything from speaking in the dialect of the time to sheep shearing.

The Plimoth Plantation also puts this English settlement into context. For example, the Plymouth Colony was built amidst the lands of the Wampanoag people and part of the Plimoth Plantation is the Wampanoag Homesite, a place to learn about this native community both in the 1600s and today. For, while the structures and exhibits at the home site recreate the 17th century feel, the people there are not actors but native people.

There is also a nearby recreation of the Mayflower II ship at the Plymouth Waterfront.

Port Hudson

Port Hudson was the site of a lengthy siege during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 1863, the town of Port Hudson in Louisiana was the site of a forty-eight day siege by the Union against the Confederates.

The Confederates viewed Port Hudson as a strategic position from which to defend the Mississippi, particularly as it was located in an acute bend in the river. Thus, they established batteries there to repel the Union army.

Beginning on 23 May 1863, the Union commenced a siege against the Confederates – the Siege of Port Hudson. Following the Union victory at Vicksburg, the Confederates realised that their actions were now largely futile and surrendered Port Hudson on 9 July 1863.

Today, Port Hudson is a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can tour the site, including via guided tours or a 6-mile hiking trail as well as viewing “living history” demonstrations.

Richmond National Battlefield Park

Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia was a focal point of the American Civil War and the capital of the Confederacy.

DID YOU KNOW?

Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia is a collection of several historic battlefields, representing some of the fiercest fighting in the American Civil War, including the Seven Days’ Battles.

Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, meaning that, between 1861 and 1865 Richmond and its surroundings were at the centre of a bloody tug of war between the Union and Confederate armies.

Richmond National Battlefield Park spans 1900 acres of Civil War sites, including famous battle sites such as Cold Harbor, Drewry’s Bluff and Gaines Mill, as well as the Chimborazo Medical Museum, which commemorates the work done at Chimborazo Hospital.  This was one of the largest hospitals of its time, treating over 76,000 Confederates during the war.

With such an array of Civil War sites, it is worth starting your visit to Richmond National Battlefield Park at the Civil War Visitor Center at the Tredegar Iron Works. Not only is this the place to find park ranger guided tours of the battlefields, but the centre also includes an expansive military exhibit.

Seattle Underground Streets

An incredible set of nineteenth century underground ruins buried after a devastating fire in 1889. Today visitors can explore the storefronts, streets and houses of nineteenth-century Seattle.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Seattle underground streets are an amazing set of subterranean sidewalks and passageways that were once the main centre of Seattle. The result of a quite astonishing example of determined urban-planning, the Seattle underground streets provide an amazing glimpse into the city's past.

The story behind the Seattle underground streets revolves around a fire in 1889 which devastated the city. When it came to rebuilding, the town-planners decided to take this opportunity to raise the street level of the entire area, to avoid the perennial problem of flooding. As the new street level was established at generally 12 feet higher than the original level, a great many buildings, streets and shops were built over or buried, while others became a haunt for the more unscrupulous members of society.

However, a campaign started by local resident Bill Speidel in the 1950s and 60s eventually led to a partial refurbishment of the Seattle underground streets and tours of these passageways are now available, allowing visitors to view the old streets, shops and houses of nineteenth-century Seattle.

Shiloh Battlefield

Shiloh Battlefield was the site of the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing which took place in April 1862.

DID YOU KNOW?

Shiloh Battlefield in Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee and Mississippi was the site of a Union victory in April 1862 during the American Civil War.

Known as the Battle of Shiloh and also as the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing, this clash saw the Confederates, led by General Albert Sidney Johnston mount an initially successful surprise attack on the Union army of Major General Ulysses S. Grant, only to be defeated the next day. Johnston was killed during the battle.

The Battle of Shiloh, which raged from 6 to 7 April 1862, was an attempt by both sides to secure strategic crossroads in the area, resulting in a total of 23,746 casualties.

Today, Shiloh Battlefield is part of the National Parks network and offers visitors a range of tours and exhibits to explore the area’s history.

In addition to viewing Shiloh Battlefield itself, visitors can see Shiloh National Cemetery and the Corinth Interpretative Centre. Corinth was also a crucial strategic point in the American Civil War, often known as the “linchpin” of Union control over the area. Several attempts would be made by the Confederates to seize Corinth, but the Union Army successfully defended their base.

Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska commemorates the Battle of Sitka and Russian American colonial history.

DID YOU KNOW?

Sitka National Historical Park was the site of the Battle of Sitka between Russian forces and Alaska Natives in 1804. Built to commemorate this famous clash, Sitka National Historical Park is Alaska’s oldest national park.

There is little remaining from the battle itself - only a clearing where the Tlingit fort once stood. There is also a visitor centre dedicated to Native American culture, a totem pole trail and a film about the history of the Sitkans.

Another interest aspect of Sitka National Historical Park is the Russian Bishop's House. This 19th century Russian colonial building - one of the last to survive in North America - features exhibits about this period.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a 19th century Romanesque monument which has become an icon of freedom and is a World Heritage site.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Statue of Liberty, which has the full name of ‘Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World’, is an iconic copper and steel statue in the entrance to New York Habour and an enduring symbol of freedom and independence.

The Statue of Liberty was gifted to the United States of America by the French in 1886 as a symbol of friendship and to celebrate the centennial of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence.

It is a Greco-Roman style depiction of a woman holding up a lit torch, her godess like appearance intending to symbolize freedom from oppression and tyranny, which is reinforced by the broken shackles which she seems to stamp. She was designed by the French artist, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and engineered by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, while her pedestal was created by the Americans.

The Statue of Liberty’s total height from ground to torch is a staggering 92.99 metres. Originally built in France in 1884, it arrived in New York in June 1885 and was dedicated on 28 October 1886.

Situated on Liberty Island, there are numerous exhibits and tours available both inside and outside the Statue of Liberty. Upon reaching Liberty Island, visitors can go to the information station to watch a short film about the statue’s history and check the schedule of events for one of 45 minute long ranger tours, which start at the Liberty Island Flagpole.

Only those who have a Monument Access Reservation stamped on their ferry ticket (see entry info) can enter the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and museum to view the main exhibits including photographs, artifacts and also see the statue’s original torch on the second floor balcony as well as enjoying great views of New York. The statue’s interior and her crown are closed indefinitely.

This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the United States.

Stones River Battlefield

Stones River Battlefield was the site of a fierce clash during the American Civil War which proved vital for the Union.

DID YOU KNOW?

Between 31 December 1862 and 2 January 1863, Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.

Prior to the Battle of Stones River, the Union had suffered a humiliating defeat at Fredericksburg. Morale was at an all time low and, anxious for a military victory, President Abraham Lincoln urged his new military leader, Major General William S. Rosecrans, to deliver.

In December 1862, Rosecrans moved his troops to Murfreesboro where General Braxton Bragg and the Confederate Army of Tennessee were camped. In the days that followed, there raged a fierce battle and, by the end, resulted in 9,239 Confederate casualties and 9,532 Union casualties as well as thousands of men taken as prisoners on both sides.

Overall, the Battle of Stones River is considered to have been inconclusive, however of vital importance was the fact that Bragg retreated from the battlefield. As a result, the Confederates gave up Middle Tennessee, an area of farmland which acted as a food source and, in Lincoln’s words, led the Union to view the Battle of Stones River as a “hard earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the country scarcely could have lived over.”

Today, Stones River Battlefield is part of the US National Parks network, with exhibitions and a series of tours exploring the area’s history. Stones River National Cemetery, which is nearby, is a military graveyard where 6,100 Union soldiers are buried.

On average, a tour of Stones River Battlefield and its museum lasts around two hours. Having said this, you might want more time to visit nearby attractions, such as Fortress Rosecrans.

Stonewall Jackson Grave

Grave of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Stonewall Jackson Grave is the site of the grave of General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson.

Located in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia, Jackson is buried (minus his arm) along with members of his family.

'Stonewall' Jackson died from complications after he was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Visitors sometimes leave flowers and even lemons at the grave site as he liked to suck on them before going into battle.

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is a beautiful thousand year old Native American settlement in New Mexico.

DID YOU KNOW?

Taos Pueblo is a Native American settlement in New Mexico’s Rio Grande, USA.

The Pueblo community in Taos Pueblo is known to date back to the fourteenth century, although some archeologists think it was established as far back as the 1st century AD. The Pueblo tribe is one of the most secretive and enigmatic of the Native American communities, meaning that little is known about their culture, however around 150 Pueblos still live in Taos Pueblo.

The architecture in Taos Pueblo is characterised by its sand coloured buildings and ceremonial sites, all made through a traditional process known as adobe which involves mixing earth with water and straw. Incredibly well preserved, these thousand year old buildings form a beautiful, oft-photographed site and, in 1987, Taos Pueblos was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its authentic architecture and original layout.

Visits can be somewhat restrictive, particularly as regards Taos Pueblo’s beautiful church, but tours are available offering an insight into the Pueblo culture.

The Abbe Museum

The Abbe Museum in Maine focuses on Native American history and heritage, particularly that of the Wabanaki.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Abbe Museum in Maine focuses on Native American history and heritage, particularly that of the Wabanaki, Maine’s indigenous people. Through a series of exhibitions, artefacts, workshops and events, the Abbe Museum looks at 10,000 years of Native American history and culture.

The Abbe Museum actually has two venues, the main one of which is downtown.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum explores the life of the 16th US president and his legacy, all in the context of wider US history.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Illinois explores the life of the 16th US president and his legacy, all in the context of wider US history.

From detailed recreations of the places where major events in his life took place - the White House, his boyhood home - to genuine personal possessions, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum has a range of exhibits about Lincoln.

The Alamo

The Alamo in San Antonio is an iconic historic site which saw the famous siege and battle in March 1836.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Alamo is an iconic historic site in downtown San Antonio that marks a symbol of Texan heroism. It has been immortalised in popular culture for the events which unfolded during the famous Battle of The Alamo, which took place on the 6th March 1836.

The Alamo itself was originally built as a Christian Mission in 1724 and was named Misión San Antonio de Valero. However, the nature of the Alamo soon changed to that of a military garrison and the complex was used as a military base by the Spanish army and later by the Mexicans. It was the Spanish soldiers who nicknamed the complex "Alamo" after their own hometown.

However, it was during the Texan Revolution that the Alamo was to gain its place in history. Occupied by Texan forces, including famous names such as William B. Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, the now-legendary siege lasted for thirteen days, before the Mexican army - led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna - stormed the complex. Although most civilian occupants of the Alamo survived, all the Texan combatants were killed, while the Mexican forces also suffered heavy losses.

In the aftermath of the battle the Texan forces were urged to remember their fallen comrades, and the cry of "Remember the Alamo!" became a rallying call in the Battle of San Jacinto, where the Mexicans were decisively defeated.

Today the Alamo is a popular tourist destination and symbol of the state of Texas. The complex is made up of a number of buildings, including the barracks, and hosts several exhibits about the battle and the history of the war. Tour guides are also on hand to guide visitors around the complex.

The Anasazi Heritage Center

The Anasazi Heritage Center explores the history and culture of the Anasazi Native Americans.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Anasazi Heritage Center in Southwest Colorado is an archaeological museum which explores the culture and history of the Ancestral Puebloan people, also known as the Anasazi.

The Anasazi were Native Americans who lived and farmed in an area known as the “Four Corners”, made up of southwest Colorado, northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southeast Utah from as early as 1500 BC to around the fourteenth century. They were the ancestors of the modern Pueblos.

The Anasazi Heritage Center works to explore their culture through finds from excavations of archaeological sites. Two such twelfth century sites can also be found nearby and the museum is a good starting point for exploring the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument which contains a wealth of historical sites.

The Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum in Michigan is dedicated to the history, culture and national heritage of Arab Americans.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Arab American National Museum in Michigan is dedicated to the history, culture and national heritage of Arab Americans.

From stories of Arab American immigration into the US to the diverse lives of Arab Americans over the years and their impact on society, the Arab American Museum uses a combination of artefacts, items, multimedia presentations and information panels to offer the visitor an insight into the history and present day lives of Arab Americans.

There is also an interesting exhibit about Arab culture around the world, which looks at diverse aspects such as architecture, art, religion and medicine.

The Atomic Testing Museum

The Atomic Testing Museum tells the story of the atomic age and of the more local National Testing Site.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Atomic Testing Museum tells the story of the atomic age and of the more local National Testing Site (NTS). From 1951 to 1992, the NTS in downtown Las Vegas was the US’s main nuclear testing area.

From technical items such as Geiger counters and atomic age paraphernalia to timelines, films and even an interactive exhibit that lets you experience what it’s like to watch a nuclear test, the Atomic Testing Museum has it all.

The Atomic Testing Museum explores all aspects of the atomic era including its origins, the historical context such as the Cold War and its local and global effects. Overall, the Atomic Testing Museum is a good example of an interesting mix of history and science.

The Autry Museum

The Autry Museum explores the history and culture of the American west.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Autry Museum, also known as the Autry National Centre, explores the history and culture of the American west.

From Native American artefacts and artwork to equipment used in the famous gold rush and exhibits chronicling post-Civil War life in the region, the Autry Museum looks at a diverse range of issues and periods. In fact, it has around half a million artefacts in all.

The California State Mining and Mineral Museum

This museum is dedicated to exploring the history of the famous California Gold Rush and the legacy that it left on the state of California.

DID YOU KNOW?

The California State Mining and Mineral Museum is dedicated to the history of the California Gold Rush and the state's mineral wealth and geological exploration.

Visitors can explore a variety of exhibitions, including the mine tunnel, which explore the methods and conditions of the mining process in the 1880s.

There are also a number of displays at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum showing a wealth of amazing minerals and gems from the area. This vast collection holds over 13,000 artefacts including rare crystallised gold and a variety of mining objects and tools.

Activities for children and school and group tours are also available.

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum chronicles the history of Charleston and the coastal region of South Carolina.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Charleston Museum chronicles the history of Charleston and the coastal region of South Carolina.

Exhibits include a history of South Carolina’s Lowcountry from the time of early natives, a collection of weapons from the 1750s onwards and the story of Charleston during the American Civil War. There is also a natural history exhibition as well as some more eclectic pieces such as an ancient Egyptian collection which includes a mummy.

It’s worth noting that the Charleston Museum has an interesting history of its own. Having been founded in 1773, it is said to be the oldest museum in the country.

The Dickson Mounds Museum

The Dickson Mounds Museum explores the history and culture of Native Americans.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown, Illinois, is an archaeological museum which offers an insight into the history and culture of Native Americans in the Illinois River Valley.

Through artefacts, artwork and documents, the Dickson Mounds Museum, which is part of the Illinois State Museum, traces this history through 12,000 years.

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a tour through Boston’s historical sites relating to the American Revolution.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Freedom Trail takes visitors to Boston through a tour of sixteen sites in the city which were of importance before and during the American Revolution against British rule in the 18th century.

Boston played a central role in igniting the American Revolution, also known as the American War of Independence, and the Freedom Trail contains the sites which tell its story.

The Freedom Trail usually starts in Boston Common, where British troops camped during the 1775 Boston Occupation and goes to sites including the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, Faneuil Hall where many pre-war protests took place, to the place where the Boston Tea party was started, Old South Meeting House and to the site of the Boston Massacre of 1770.

Also included are Granary Burial Ground, a cemetery housing many famous Americans, Paul Revere House, the home of the famous silversmith who alerted his countrymen that the British were coming and the 19th century USS Constitution ship, the iron fastenings of which were made by Paul Revere.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile trip which visitors can either follow independently using the red pavement markings around the city or join one of the selections of guided tours, which last around an hour and a half. You can even download an MP3 audio tour from the Freedom Trail site to walk the tour without a guide, which costs $15. Many of these sites also form part of the Boston National Historical Park.

The Gilcrease Museum

The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa exhibits a comprehensive collection relating to the history of the American West.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa exhibits a comprehensive collection of works of art and historic artefacts relating to the history of the American West. From the prehistoric to present day, the Gilcrease Museum covers a range of historic periods.

The James Madison Museum

The James Madison Museum in Orange, Virginia explores the life and legacy of the fourth US president.

DID YOU KNOW?

The James Madison Museum in Orange, Virginia explores the life and legacy of the fourth US president, James Madison and his wife, Dolley.

From personal items such as his favourite chair to a whole section dedicated to agriculture - something for which he as renowned - the James Madison Museum has a varied collection about the man known as the "Father of the Constitution".

Also on display at the James Madison Museum are several antique vehicles and an eighteenth century house.

The Journey Museum

The Journey Museum in South Dakota chronicles the history of the Black Hills region and the cultures that have existed there.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Journey Museum in South Dakota chronicles the history of the Black Hills region and the cultures that have existed there such as the Native American Lakota people and the pioneers. It also explores the area’s natural environment.

The Journey Museum is split into several sections, amongst them an archaeology gallery with pieces dating back to 7500BC. There is also a large Native American collection with items ranging from artwork to everyday tools and there is a gallery about the early European settlers in the Black Hills.

The King Centre

The King Centre in Atlanta is the final resting place of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

DID YOU KNOW?

The King Centre in Atlanta, Georgia commemorates Martin Luther King Jr, a Baptist minister and the leader of the African-American civil rights movement.

Dr King was assassinated on 4 April 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee and his joint crypt with his wife is located at the King Centre.

Visitors to the King Centre, which is part of the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site managed by the National Parks Service, can embark on a self guided tour to see his final resting place as well as viewing exhibits about Dr King.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated to those who fought in the Korean War.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC is a monument – or rather a collection of monuments - commemorating those who fought in the Korean War.

The Korean War was a three year conflict (1950-1953) between the communist North Korea and non-communist southern Republic of Korea. The US, spurred into action by a fear of the spread of communism, the so called “domino effect”, came to the aid of South Korea and succeeded in gaining the support of the United Nations in doing so.

Yet behind the scenes, this was not just a civil war but one between the US, China and Russia and one which almost escalated into a nuclear war. In fact, after a long stint of trench warfare and a stalemate, the Korean War finally ended in 1953 when President Eisenhower threatened to use nuclear force against China.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Korean War Veterans Memorial is its series of nineteen larger-than-life statues of US soldiers, staggered across a triangular area and each with its own individual characteristics. These stainless steel statues present a haunting sight, each dressed in the uniform of different branches of the US army and each one bearing a unique expression on their face.

One side of this triangle of the Korean War Veterans Memorial is bordered by a granite wall displaying over 2,500 photographs of US troops involved in the conflict. There is also a wall dedicated to the twenty-two United Nations countries that fought alongside the US or contributed to the war effort.

At the tip of the triangle and also forming part of the Korean War Veterans Memorial is a circular pool known as the Pool of Remembrance, by which there are listed the casualties of the Korean War, including those who died, were wounded, captured or went missing.

The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is one of the most important symbols of freedom and liberty in the US.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Liberty Bell is one of the most important symbols of freedom and liberty in the US. Cast in London’s East End, the Liberty Bell arrived at Independence Hall - then called the Pennsylvania State House - in 1753 where it was hung. There it cracked on its very first toll.

The Liberty Bell has always embodied ideas of freedom and democracy. For example, it was engraved with the quote "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof" from Leviticus 25:10. This extract inspired a group of slave abolitionists to first name it the Liberty Bell, making it an emblem of their movement.

Today, the bell is on show in the Liberty Bell Center, part of the Independence National Historical Park.

The Liberty Memorial

The Liberty Memorial is a US national World War I monument in Kansas City in Missouri.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Liberty Memorial is a US national World War I monument in Kansas City in Missouri. It commemorates those soldiers who died in this war and was dedicated in 1926.

The Liberty Memorial is also home to the National World War I Museum and, in fact, you can enter the memorial via the museum.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a world renowned museum exhibiting works spanning eight thousand years.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is one of the most famous art museums in the world, exhibiting pieces spanning over eight thousand years of history.

From prehistoric art and that of the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to medieval works, Asian art and art of the Americas, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explores ancient and historical cultures through their artwork.

Containing an incredibly diverse and comprehensive collection, the best way to tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art is probably with one of their guided tours, especially if you’re not sure what you want to see or want an overview of the museum or one of its collections. Tours are included in the admission price.

The National World War II Memorial

The National World War II Memorial in Washington DC is a civilian and military memorial.

DID YOU KNOW?

The National World War II Memorial in Washington DC is a US monument commemorating the Second World War, particularly those who fought in the US armed forces and those civilians who assisted in and were affected by the conflict.

World War II was a multi-national conflict initially prompted by Germany’s invasion of Poland and which took place from 1939 until 1945, when the Allies emerged victorious. The US entered the war in 1941 as it declared war on Japan for its attack on Pearl Harbor. A staggering sixteen million US troops participated in the war.

The National World War II Memorial is a circular fountain surrounded by fifty-six columns and two arches. To the west of the National World War II Memorial is a wall, known as the Freedom Wall, containing 4,048 stars, each representing 100 Americans who perished in the conflict. Also displayed are films and photographic depictions of the war and those who fought in it.

The Pacific Aviation Museum

The Pacific Aviation Museum tells the story of US aviation in this region during World War II.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in Hawaii is dedicated to telling the story of US aviation in the Pacific during World War II.

As part of Pearl Harbor, it particularly focuses on the fateful day - 7 December 1941 - when Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the US military base, bringing America into World War II.

Visitors begin by viewing a film about the attack on Pearl Harbour before seeing a series of exhibitions ranging from photographs and dioramas to aircrafts. The Pacific Aviation Museum houses numerous aircrafts including light civilian planes, a B-25B Mitchell, a P-40 fighter and a SBD Dauntless dive bomber. There are even flight simulations, allowing visitors to ’experience’ being a World War II pilot.

The Pacific Aviation Museum also goes beyond World War II, looking at planes that served during the Korean War, such as an F-86 Sabre and a MiG-15.

The Steamboat Arabia Museum

The Steamboat Arabia Museum exhibits the cargo of a nineteenth century ship, offering an insight into her past and the world in which she operated.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Steamboat Arabia Museum tells the story of a nineteenth century ship - the Steamboat Arabia - as well as the frontier world in which she operated. The Steamboat Arabia regularly transported people and goods along the Missouri River, a trip she was making in the autumn of 1856 when she sank.

Buried for almost a century, the Steamboat Arabia was recovered in 1988 and today its excavated cargo is displayed in the Steamboat Arabia Museum. From clothes to dishes and farm wares to food, the Steamboat Arabia Museum has it all, plunging the visitor into a time capsule. Along with these artefacts are pieces from the ship’s hull and information about the excavation process.

A visit to the Steamboat Arabia Museum lasts around an hour and a half.

The Texas Civil War Museum

The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth holds an array of exhibits relating to the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth explores the American Civil War, and the role of Texas within it, through a range of exhibits.

Amongst the artefacts on displays, there is a large collection of weaponry, flags and clothing, including army uniforms from the war.

The US Capitol

The US Capitol is the seat of the United States Congress and an iconic building in its own right.

DID YOU KNOW?

The US Capitol is the seat of the United States Congress, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and, with its famous neoclassical facade and dramatic dome, is an iconic building in its own right.

Construction of the first incarnation of The US Capitol began in 1793 and the US Congress first met there - in what would be its north wing - in November 1800. Since then, The US Capitol has been the setting for many important national events such as presidential inaugurations.

Over the centuries, The US Capitol has undergone a series of renovations and additions - especially in the 1850s - as well as reconstructions and restorations. One such reconstruction occurred after the British set alight the US Capitol on 24 August 1814 as part of the War of 1812.

Today, The US Capitol is both the home of the US legislature and a museum of American history and art. Free tours of the Capitol building itself are available, but must be booked in advance, and there is also a new visitor centre with exhibits about the US Capitol and its history.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, often shortened to the “VVM”, is a series of monuments in Washington DC commemorating those who fought in the Vietnam War. Originally envisioned by a Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was designed by Maya Lin.

The Vietnam War was a conflict in which South Vietnam was supported by the US in fighting against the North Vietnamese communist state. US involvement in the war, which started in the late 1950’s and would continue until the mid-1970’s, would be one of the most controversial military campaigns in the country’s history. Much of this was due to the massive loss of American lives in the course of the war. It would end in defeat for the US, marked in 1975 by the North Vietnamese capture of the city of Saigon.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is comprised of three parts, the main one being a mirrored wall listing over 58,000 names (58,261 names at the time of writing) of those who died in the conflict. Names can be added by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial also has a bronze statue, known as The Three Soldiers as well as the Vietnam Women's Memorial which is a statue of women tending to a wounded soldier and which commemorates the women who served in the war.

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an obelisk built in honour of President George Washington.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Washington Monument was designed by architect Robert Mills, made out of marble, granite, and sandstone and completed on 6 December 1884, almost thirty years after Mills’ death.

The Washington Monument was constructed in honour of the first president of the United States of America, George Washington, who was considered to be the "Father of the Country". Washington led the USA to independence from the British and commanded great respect from his countrymen.

The shape of the Washington Monument is that of an Egyptian obelisk and in fact, at its height of 555 feet, 5 and 1/8 inches, is the tallest obelisk in the world. The design was chosen as part of a competition held in 1836 to find a design that reflected Washington himself, in that it was to be, in the words of the Washington National Monument Society, “unparalleled in the world, and commensurate with the gratitude, liberality, and patriotism of the people by whom it is to be erected”.

The Washington Monument is now part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Visitors can enter the Washington Monument and ride the elevator to its observation deck, from which the views of the city are spectacular and run for thirty miles.

The White House

The White House is the seat of the federal government of the United States of America and home of the President.

DID YOU KNOW?

The White House has been the seat if the US government and home of Presidents of the United States of America for over 200 years.

Original construction of the White House began in October 1792 after President George Washington chose what is now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the location for the new home of the federal government. The building was designed by architect James Hoban, whose plans were selected out of nine proposals. The White House was not yet completed when, in 1800, it housed its first ‘first family’ President John Adams and First Lady, Abigail Adams.

Since then, the White House has been the home of every President and first family, each of whom renovated it to different degrees to suit their tastes and lifestyles. In fact, President Truman spent most of his term living elsewhere due to the major extent of the renovations undertaken.

The White House has also been subjected to disaster, including two fires, one at the hands of the British in 1814 and one in the West Wing in 1929. Famous rooms in the White House include the Blue Room, where President Grover Cleveland married the youngest first lady in history and the Oval Office, which is the President’s office. The President’s office used to be housed in the Roosevelt Room, where President Roosevelt used to house a fish tank and fishing paraphernalia.

The first Inaugural open house at the White House took place in 1805 and was held by President Thomas Jefferson following his swearing-in ceremony.

The White House Visitors Centre is also a source of White House history, including details of the building’s architecture and history. A tour of the visitors centre should take between 20 minutes and an hour.

Public tours of the White House itself are also available, but only upon prior request. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in the United States.

The Women’s Museum

The Women’s Museum in Dallas is a national museum dedicated to women’s history.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Women’s Museum in Dallas is a national museum dedicated to women’s history in every walk of American life and from past to present and even future. Spread over 70,000 square feet, this comprehensive museum uses a variety of tools, artworks, exhibits and media to explore this topic in depth.

Looking at issues ranging from sport and spirituality to politics and civil rights, the Women’s Museum catalogues important events in women’s history. For example, the Women’s Museum highlights various important figures such as Rosa Parks, who played a pivotal role in the US civil rights movement.

The Wounded Knee Museum

The Wounded Knee Museum is dedicated to exploring the events of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Wounded Knee Museum in South Dakota tells the story of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

The Wounded Knee Massacre was a significant event in the then longstanding dispute between the US government and the Native Americans. At that time, government policy was to confine Native Americans to reservations, which led to a period known as the American-Indian Wars. The Wounded Knee Massacre was the last battle of this conflict.

On 29 December 1890, the US 7th Cavalry came to disarm the Lakota Native Americans. However, after an initial shot was fired, the cavalry started shooting chaotically, leading to the deaths of up to 300 men, women and children of the Lakotas as well as several US troops.

The Wounded Knee Museum uses a series of photographs and artefacts to explore the events of the massacre and its aftermath. It also offers a tour map of the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Titan Missile Museum

The Titan Missile Museum is a former ICBM missile site that now offers tours to the public. It contains a genuine Titan II missile in its original silo.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Titan Missile Museum is a cold-war underground missile silo turned public museum which still contains an actual Titan II missile.

Once a functioning Titan II base, the Titan Missile Museum allows visitors to explore the realities of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch site. The complex is made up of an eight-level missile silo and a three-level launch center.

During the Cold War, both the US and the USSR built up an armoury of ICBMs and these high-security underground launch sites became one of the most memorable symbols of the conflict. There were 54 Titan II missile sites in the US with the last site being deactivated in 1987.

Officially opened in 1963, the Titan Missile Museum complex was initially known as Titan II ICBM Site 571-7.

Today visitors to the Titan Missile Museum can choose from a number of tour options with activities including a visit to the control center, taking part in a simulated launch and exploring the missile silo itself.

A number of additional tour options are available, usually on specific dates. The 'Beyond the Blastdoor' tour, on the first and third Saturday each month, offers access to normally restricted areas. 'Tuesdays at Titan' is a special tour that takes place on Tuesdays at 2pm where the tour guide is a member of the missile crew. An extended five hour 'Top to Bottom' tour takes you through every level of the facility while the 'Moonlight Madness' tour is a night time tour with special activities for children. Check the official Titan Missile Museum website for tour dates and prices.

United States Holocaust Museum

The United States Holocaust Museum commemorates the Holocaust and explores the issue of genocide as a whole.

DID YOU KNOW?

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC is dedicated to commemorating the Holocaust.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals.

In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the "Final Solution," the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program. See the Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopedia for more information. 

Combining eyewitness testimony, displayed in films and documents, with over 900 artifacts including one of the railcars used to transport prisoners, the Holocaust Museum tells the story of this world event.

The Holocaust Museum also looks at the issue of genocide as a whole, displaying exhibitions about other atrocities around the world. On average, a tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum takes between 2 and 3 hours.

US National Museum of the Marine Corps

The US National Museum of the Marine Corps chronicles the history of the Marines and their roles in various world conflicts.

DID YOU KNOW?

The US National Museum of the Marine Corps chronicles the history of the Marines and their roles in various world conflicts.

From photographs, information boards and medals to weapons and aircraft, the National Museum of the Marine Corps tells the story of the Marines and their accomplishments. The galleries at the National Museum of the Marine Corps are well organized and include those to the Korean War, the Vietnam War and World Wars I and II.

US National Museum of the Pacific War

The US National Museum of the Pacific War is a World War II museum focusing on the story of the Pacific theatre.

DID YOU KNOW?

The US National Museum of the Pacific War is a World War II museum focusing on the story of the Pacific theatre. Artefacts, information panels, interactive exhibits and recreations all come together in the National Museum of the Pacific War to chronicle this conflict, from the build up to its aftermath.

Visitors can really immerse themselves in the history of the Pacific War here, whether it’s in seeing recreations of the battlefields or the tanks, guns and uniforms which played a role in the conflict. What’s interesting about the National Museum of the Pacific War is that it looks not just at the Allied aspect of this war, but also at the other side. For example, its weaponry includes an impressive collection of Japanese items.

Also at the National Museum of the Pacific War is a gallery dedicated to Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who commanded the United States Pacific Fleet in World War II. In fact, the museum was originally known as the Admiral Nimitz Museum and is located in his hometown.

US National World War II Museum

The US National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the war, focusing particularly on amphibious attacks.

DID YOU KNOW?

The US National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the war, focusing particularly on amphibious attacks. Using a combination of artifacts, photos, documents, information panels, stories and films, the National World War II Museum looks at everything from the Pacific to the African and European theatres.

Its main highlight is that of the event known as D-Day and other important attacks on land and water. The main exhibits at the National World War II Museum are divided into the Home Front, planning for D-Day, the D-Day beaches and a range of Pacific invasions. It is said that the National World War II Museum is the only one to deal with all such operations.

Amongst its main attractions, the National World War II Museum has a fully restored C47 plane, a PT 305 boat and a Sherman tank.

USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial is a monument to the American service people who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

DID YOU KNOW?

The USS Arizona Memorial is a monument to the American service people who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. It is located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

This surprise attack has become one of the most infamous in US history, particularly as it led to the US declaring war on Japan the very next day and thus entering World War II.

Out of the 2,400 US military personnel and civilians killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, almost 1,200 died on the USS Arizona - the greatest loss of life on a US warship. The majority of those who perished on the USS Arizona are laid to rest there. Their names are also listed on one of the memorial’s walls.

Today, the USS Arizona Memorial is located over the remains of the original warship. Visitors are invited to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor by touring this and surrounding sites. The USS Arizona Memorial is itself only accessible via the official tour, which begins at the visitor centre (generally every 15 minutes). This also has a number of exhibits about the Pearl Harbor Attack.

This monument is part of the National Park Service’s WWII Valour in the Pacific Monument.

It is worth noting here that security is extremely high at the USS Arizona Memorial, to the extent that any form of bag is prohibited at the site.

USS Missouri Memorial

The USS Missouri Memorial was a World War II battleship and the site where Japan officially surrendered to the Allies.

DID YOU KNOW?

The USS Missouri Memorial was a World War II battleship and the site where Japan officially surrendered to the Allies by signing the 'Instrument of Surrender' on 2 September 1945. Today, it is docked at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Launched on 29 January 1944, the USS Missouri (BB-63) - often known as the 'Mighty Mo' - was an Iowa class battleship. Even considering her creation near the end of the war, USS Missouri still managed to take part in a number of significant Allied operations in the Pacific, in particular the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The USS Missouri would serve again in the Korean War, in the Middle East as part of Operation Ernest Will (accompanying oil tankers in the North Arabian Sea) and in Operation Desert Storm.

Today, visitors can tour the ship at the USS Missouri Memorial (usually around 35 minutes).

Entry costs $20 for adults and $10 for children, with additional costs for some of the optional tours.

Photo by CapCase (cc)

Vicksburg Battlefield

Vicksburg Battlefield in Mississippi was the site of a pivotal Union victory during the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Vicksburg Battlefield was the site of one of the most important Union victories of the American Civil War and, together with the Battle of Gettysburg, marked a pivotal moment during the conflict.

With its strategically vital location near the Mississippi River, wealth of resources, access to Richmond and ability to split the south, President Abraham Lincoln considered Vicksburg to be “the key” to winning the war. Thus, Lincoln launched the Vicksburg Campaign to seize the town from the Confederates and, in 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army of the Tennessee towards the fateful battlefield.

Vicksburg was heavily defended and, only after two failed attempts on 19 and 22 May 1863, did Grant’s Union army manage to penetrate them. Grant changed his tactics from those of force to instigating a siege, cutting the Confederate troops at Vicksburg off from their communication and supply routes and preparing the way for an attack.

Then, from May 26, the Federal troops undertook a campaign to undermine the Confederate defences by tunnelling underneath them and destroying them with explosives. Two mines were indeed detonated in June together with several clashes and ongoing gunfire.

Finally, on 3 July, Confederate General Pemberton rode to meet Grant, displaying white flags. Initially unable to agree terms, the final Confederate surrender was signed the next day on 4 July 1863. The Union had gained their key to the South.

Today, Vicksburg Battlefield is a National Historic Park, which houses over a thousand monuments commemorating the siege of Vicksburg and its surrounding events together with a restored Federal navy boat, the USS Cairo, with its accompanying museum and a National Cemetery.

There are various activities at Vicksburg Battlefield, including an in-car tour of the site and a visitor centre with several exhibits. Nearby are related sites including the batteries at Louisiana Circle and Navy Circle as well as South Fort.

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is a site where national events, such as state funerals and Presidential inaugurations, are marked.

DID YOU KNOW?

Washington National Cathedral, officially known as the "Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul," is the "church for national purposes" called for by President George Washington on January 24, 1791; initially advocated by intention of William W. Corcoran in 1871; and chartered by Congress during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison in 1893. The first stone of Washington National Cathedral was laid on September 29, 1907, in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt.
 
A major seat of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. over the years, located on the highest hill in the District of Columbia, Washington National Cathedral has formed a focal point in the city as well as a place to celebrate and mourn events of national and international significance.
 
From state funerals and presidential inaugurations, to national holidays and services such as those for the September 11 terrorist attacks, events of all kinds have been marked at Washington National Cathedral. It was also the site of the final Sunday sermon of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.
 
The Cathedral’s attractions include its stained glass windows, which depict an array of themes and events ranging from nature to space exploration and the American Civil War. Memorials appear throughout the Cathedral, including the War Memorial Chapel, as do exhibits and numerous works of art. The tomb of President Woodrow Wilson, the only president to be buried in the District of Columbia, is also located there.
 
Visitors can explore the history of Washington National Cathedral through self-guided tours, audio tours, or guided tours following various themes. The Cathedral’s website, www.nationalcathedral.org, provides live and archived webcasts of its services, concerts, and other special events.

Washita Battlefield

Washita Battlefield was the site of a surprise US cavalry attack on a Native American settlement in 1868 during the American-Indian Wars.

DID YOU KNOW?

On 27 November 1868 Washita Battlefield, then a Native American settlement of Peace Chief Black Kettle, was attacked by 7th U.S. Cavalry led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. This attack formed part of the American-Indian Wars, a series of conflicts which took place between first the colonial and then the federal American governments and Native Americans.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the US government adopted a policy which intended to move the Native Americans out of their traditional lands and into reservations.

Prior to the attack at Washita Battlefield and in light of a massacre of Native Americans in Sand Creek in 1864, Chief Black Kettle had signed several peace treaties with the US government including the 1865 Little Arkansas Treaty and the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty.

Through these treaties the Native Americans also agreed to be assigned to Indian territories in return for homes and supplies. However, many other tribal leaders refused to sign and undertook a series of attacks known as the “Kansas Raids” against white settlements.

The attack which took place in Washita Battlefield was one of the consequences of these raids, despite Black Kettle’s cooperation with the Americans and his requests for protection for his people. In fact, when the attack at Washita took place, Black Kettle had just come back from talks with US General William B. Hazen.

As dawn approached on 27 November, Lieutenant Colonel Custer’s troops attacked Black Kettle’s village, resulting in several Cheyenne casualties including women and children. The number of casualties is disputed, the Americans claiming 100 were killed while Indian figures claimed 11 warriors and 19 women were killed. Tens of prisoners were also taken. Chief Black Kettle and his wife were amongst those who died.

Today, Washita Battlefield commemorated this nineteenth century attack, displaying a film and hosting tours of the site. The tours can be self-guided or, in the summer, rangers lead guided tours hourly from 9am to 4pm (except between noon and 1pm).

Photo by Jo Naylor (cc)

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was the site of a major battle which defined Missouri’s role in the American Civil War.

DID YOU KNOW?

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was the site of the second major battle of the American Civil War. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, took place in Springfield, Missouri on 10 August 1861 and was the first such conflict to take place west of the Mississippi River.

At Wilson’s Creek Battlefield, the Union Army of the West, led by Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon was defeated by Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch’s Confederate troops. However, despite this victory, Missouri continued to be under Union control.

Today, Wilson’s Creek Battlefield is a US National Park, including a Civil War Museum and self-guided tours of the site. Overall, Wilson’s Creek Battlefield is very well preserved, offering a good insight into the battle.

Photo by Chor Ip (cc)

World Trade Centre

The World Trade Centre site was a location of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

DID YOU KNOW?

The World Trade Centre was a complex of seven buildings in Manhattan in New York, which was destroyed by terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 in a devastating event known as 9/11.

The World Trade Centre included the iconic Twin Towers, two 110-storey buildings designed by Minoru Yamasaki in the 1960’s and also known as the North and South Towers. At 1,368 feet tall, the North Tower, which was completed in 1972, surpassed the Empire State Building to become the tallest building in the world followed by the South Tower, although they lost this record to the Chicago Sears Tower later in 1973.

Typically, around 50,000 people worked in the Twin Towers with a further 200,000 people visiting on a daily basis.

The World Trade Centre suffered a series of incidents throughout its lifetime, including a fire in the North Tower on 13 February 1975 and a terrorist attack in that tower’s underground garage on 26 February 1993 which killed six people. However, it was the events of 9/11 which are permanently ingrained in the global consciousness.

At 08:46 on 11 September 2001, terrorists crashed commercial American Airlines flight 11 into the North Twin Tower, followed shortly by crashing United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower. The impact was enormous.

At 9:59, the South Tower collapsed, the North Tower following suit at 10:28. Whilst approximately 15,000 people were safely evacuated, the World Trade Centre attacks claimed almost 3,000 casualties, the worst casualty rate for a terrorist attack in US history.

Today, visitors can see the site where the attacks took place. Building works are currently in progress to create a World Trade Centre Memorial and Museum on the site where the World Trade Centre once stood.

Photo by By cliff1066™ (cc)

Yorktown Battlefield

Yorktown Battlefield is the site of the final major battle of the American Revolution.

DID YOU KNOW?

Yorktown battlefield in Virginia is the location of the final battle of the American Revolution.

It was at Yorktown battlefield that, on 19 October 1781, the British surrendered to the combined forces of the French and American armies, under the command of General Washington. This dramatic action marked the end of the war and was the point at which the Americans attained independence.

Today, Yorktown battlefield forms part of Colonial National Park which encompasses Historic Jamestown, Colonial Parkway and the Cape Henry Memorial. Visitors to Yorktown Battlefield can learn about the history of the site and the end of the American Revolution with tours and exhibitions including visiting Moore House, where the terms of surrender were agreed. Aspects of the site also relate to the American Civil War.