Tag Archives: museum

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Overview

This site in northeastern Iowa contains 206 prehistoric earthen mounds, thirty-one of which are in the form of bears and birds.  Some of the rounded mounds have been dated back 2,500 years, but the images of animals (called effigies) began only about 1,400 years ago.  In addition to blades and beads inside the mounds, there is often evidence of fires burned in the effigy’s head, heart, or flank, perhaps as part of a burial ceremony.

Echo with Effigy Mounds

Highlights

Marching Bear Mound Group, Little Bear Mound Group, Mississippi River overlooks

Must-Do Activity

After perusing the museum inside the visitor center, take the steep trail that leads past Little Bear Mound Group to multiple overlooks from 300-foot tall bluffs above the Mississippi River.

Best Trail

Located a short drive from the visitor center, a trail in the South Unit climbs 2 miles one-way to the impressive Marching Bears Mound Group, the densest collection of effigies in the park.

Instagram-worthy Photo

It is very difficult to photograph the effigy shapes, so the best shots are found at overlooks of the Mississippi River.

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Peak Season

Summer, but on our second visit during April we found the animal shapes were easier to discern.

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/efmo/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

Fees

None

Road Conditions

All paved except the parking area for the South Unit which may not be suitable for large RVs.

Camping

No campground in the monument, but nearby Pikes Peak State Park has RV hookups and Yellow River State Forest offers more primitive sites.

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Little Bear Mound
The mounds can be hard to discern in the summertime

Tiff next to two of the tallest mounds in the park

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In April, we saw these bear shapes located at the end of the Marching Bear Group, a 4-mile roundtrip hike.
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There is a picnic area at the southern trailhead on the banks of the Mississippi River.
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Coots in the Mississippi River

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Explore More – What is the wingspan of the largest effigy bird?

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Pullman National Monument

Overview

South of Chicago, Illinois, the town of Pullman was built in 1880 as one of the first master-planned communities in the nation.  It was constructed by the Pullman Palace Car Company for its employees to rent houses with modern amenities typically unavailable in the city.  Due to the grassroots efforts of its residents over the years, the town was spared demolition in the 1960s and it remains incredibly well-preserved architecturally.  Pullman National Monument was established in February 2015 by the executive order of former Chicago resident Barack Obama.

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Highlights

Historic buildings, introductory film

Must-Do Activity

The National Park Service (NPS) visitor center in the neighborhood shows a 20-minute film and offers walking tours.  You can also take a self-guided tour past the historic homes, most of which remain private residences.  More buildings may open to the public in the coming years as the NPS develops this unique historical site in cooperation with its current inhabitants.

Best Trail

None

Instagram-worthy Photo

Greenstone Church was made with serpentine quarried in Pennsylvania, giving it an interesting color that doesn’t even require a photo filter.  Also, it has gargoyles.

Green!

Peak Season

Open year round, but Chicago is known for its harsh and windy winters.

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/pull/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Fees

None

Road Conditions

All roads are paved and there is a free parking lot at the visitor center.

Camping

None

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Operated 1881 to 1975, the Hotel Florence had the only bar in Pullman until the 1900s and was under renovation in 2016, but may now be open to tours.

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The green rock church

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It will take a lot of restoration work to get the Pullman Factory Administration Building open to the public.
Pullman is known for making the fancy train cars
Scott inside the Visitor Center and museum.

Explore More – Why did President Grover Cleveland direct federal troops to disrupt the 1894 strike by Pullman Palace Car Company employees?

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Andersonville National Historic Site

Overview

During the Civil War, Andersonville Prison in central Georgia held approximately 32,000 Union prisoners in a compound designed for only 10,000.  As the tide turned against the Confederacy in 1864, the prisoners were not adequately cared for and thousands perished.  Following the war, Clara Barton helped lead the effort to identify the 12,920 men buried here and place a gravestone for each of them.  In addition to being a National Park Service (NPS) site, it remains an active military cemetery and is also home to the National Prisoner of War Museum.

Andersonville

Highlights

National Prisoner of War Museum, monuments in Andersonville National Cemetery, prison site

Must-Do Activity

This may not be the best NPS site to bring children to, given the exhibits in the National Prisoner of War Museum do not pull punches in their depictions of the brutality endured by captured combatants throughout the ages.  That said, it is very well-done and a powerful experience.  We can promise that you will not leave this small Georgia town harboring the same feelings about war with which you arrived.

Best Trail

Walk (or drive) around the Civil War prison site to read interpretive panels and see the reconstruction of the North Gate and Northeast Corner of the stockade.

Instagram-worthy Photo

You thought your deadlines were tough, but if an Andersonville prisoner crossed this “dead line” he was immediately shot.

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Peak Season

Year round, though it can get hot and humid in the summer.

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/ande/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

Fees

None

Road Conditions

All roads are paved.

Camping

None in the park, but several campgrounds nearby including one across the road from the cemetery and Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park near Americus.

In the National Cemetery at Andersonville

Reflection of the American flag on the tomb of the unknown

Tiff outside the main gate at Andersonville

The memorial outside of the museum

Tiff in the POW museum (those are all guns trained on her)
Tiff inside the National Prisoner of War Museum.

Inside the POW museum

Explore More – What was the fate after the Civil War of Confederate camp commander Henry Wirz?

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