Galena Things to Do: Tour Through Civil War History

Galena, Illinois has one of the richest civil war histories in the country. For a place like Galena, things to do must include a visit to historical sites that contain a rich assortment of artifacts and documents that showcase the town's glorious past. BBOnline recommends that you visit these attractions.


Galena History Museum
211 Bench St.
Galena, Illinois
(815) 777-9129


Perhaps, the most important historical site in Galena is the Galena History Museum. This museum is located in an old mansion that dates back to 1858. Today, it retains most of its original structure and d├ęcor to give visitors a better insight into the culture of Galena in the 19th century. The museum is open from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm, making it the perfect destination for field trips or family visits. With over 6,000 square feet of exhibit space, it has a lot to offer cultural enthusiasts and civil war buffs.


The museum showcases Galena's amazing influence on the Civil War. Nine Civil War generals called Galena home during the 19th century, and the most famous among them was General Ulysses S. Grant himself. The other generals were August Louis Chetlain, John Oliver Duer, Jasper Adalmorn Maltby, Ely Samuel Parker, John Aaron Rawlins, William Ruben Rowley, John Corson Smith and John Eugene Smith. All nine generals had illustrious military careers.


In addition, the museum is considered the hub for all tourist activities that take place in Galena. It offers special walking tours of the city from May to October. During these tours, visitors will be taken to historically significant places, such as the leather store where Grant worked. More importantly, the tours will relate the life stories of Civil War heroes who contributed to the popularity of the town. They provide a fascinating account of life in Galena during the Civil War as well as the development of the town over the years. The museum also conducts a 75-minute walking tour of a cemetery, where enactors are present to tell the life stories of Civil War generals and other people who were buried there.


The Galena History Museum is located in an area where there are lots of accommodation options. It is advisable that you stay in a Galena Bed and Breakfast in the area, so that you can make your way to the museum without any hassle.


Ulysses S. Grant Home
500 Bouthillier Street
Galena, Illinois 61036
(815) 777-3310


This home was presented to Ulysses Grant when he returned to Galena as a war hero after a victorious Civil War campaign. He lived in the house for about three years before he became the President of the United States. Until 1880, Grant made occasional visits to Galena, and he stayed in the house whenever he was in town. Today, many of the items that belonged to the Grant family remain in the house, and they serve as museum exhibits. Tours are conducted by knowledgeable guides in period costumes, who will relate the life story of Grant from his Civil War exploits to his Presidency. The Ulysses S. Grant home is situated near the Grant Park, which is a perfect place to visit before you retire to your Galena Inn.