Shiloh National Military Park | SHILOH VISITOR CENTER

Shiloh National Military Park Visitor Center

Shiloh National Military Park Visitor Center

OPERATING HOURS

The Visitor Center at Shiloh National Military Park is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM, except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. However, hours can change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the latest schedule by visiting the official National Park Service’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Shiloh National Military Park.

AMENITIES

  • Information desk staffed by park Rangers where you can pick up brochures on both the Shiloh and Corinth units of the park
  • Small museum
  • Park film
  • Outdoor exhibits
  • The gift store for Shiloh National Military Park is located in a separate building across the parking lot.

MUSEUM

A big disappointment is the park’s museum, which is nothing more than a generic Civil War museum with exhibits on such things as cannon, drummer boy life, field hospitals, ammunition, and uniforms. Information on the battle itself is surprisingly absent, other than an information panel detailing the commanding officers at the Battle of Shiloh and a few displays of artifacts found on the battlefield. You can read all of the information in about 15 minutes. If you want a real museum, take a trip to the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, part of the Corinth Unit of the park.

Civil War Museum at Shiloh National Military Park's Visitor Center

Civil War Museum at Shiloh National Military Park’s Visitor Center

Exhibit on drummer boys at the Shiloh Visitor Center museum

Exhibit on drummer boys at the Shiloh Visitor Center museum

There are two short videos at the museum, both playing on a constant loop. One shows how Civil War-era cannon are fired, and the other is a collection of personal items, letters, and photos of soldiers who died at Shiloh. Both are roughly 3.5 minutes long.

Video on firing a cannon at Shiloh National Military Park's Visitor Center Civil War Museum

Video on firing a cannon at Shiloh National Military Park’s Visitor Center Civil War Museum

PARK FILM

In lieu of an informative museum is by far the best Civil War park film that I have ever seen, Shiloh: Fiery Trial. This 45-minute documentary is so good that I find it hard to believe the U. S. government had anything to do with it (and wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it didn’t). It’s like watching Glory. Excellent graphics do a wonderful job of explaining the Battle of Shiloh (Corinth is not covered), and live action battle scenes are nearly constant. This was no cheap film to make. I wouldn’t go so far as to rate it PG-13, but people do get shot and there is minor blood and gore (bloodied faces of the dead). I’d rate it PG, suitable for those 10 and older, or for kids who understand the concepts of war and death.

You can watch this film on YouTube, but since I’m not sure if it was put there legally, I’m not linking to it.

Park movie theater

Park movie theater

OUTDOOR EXHIBITS

Out front of the building is an exhibit that explains what the different battlefield tablet colors and shapes symbolize. This is the first time I have seen such and exhibit at a Civil War battlefield, and while it is doubtful that the typical visitor will read the tablets, it’s nice to know what they mean simply by looking at them. For those unfamiliar with a tablet, Civil War battlefield parks were originally created by military personnel and historians to document the battle in detail. Tablets contain information such as which military unit was at a particular location at a particular time. You may read one or two of them, but only the most ardent Civil War buff will take the time to read all of them.

Tablet key

Tablet key

BOOK AND SOUVENIR STORE

Shiloh National Military Park Book and Souvenir Store

Shiloh National Military Park Book and Souvenir Store

As mentioned, the park’s gift store is located in a separate building across the parking lot. In addition to books and souvenirs typically offered at such a store is the Shiloh National Military Park Driving Tour on CD. For those with a CD player in their car, the CD Driving Tour gives a much more detailed explanation of the battle than you can get by simply reading the information panels that are located at stops along the battlefield road. You can also buy ice cream and other snacks.

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Plan to spend about an hour at the Shiloh National Military Park Visitor Center, with the majority of the time spent watching Shiloh: Fiery Trial.

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Last updated on February 5, 2022
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