The National Prisoner of War Museum is dedicated to the men and women of this
country who suffered captivity so that others may remain free. Their story is one of
sacrifice and courage; their legacy, the gift of liberty.
The museum was
officially opened and dedicated on April 9, 1999. The concept of a museum to honor all
prisoners of war in American History goes back to the legislation passed by Congress in
1970 that made Andersonville a unit of the National Park Service. The law that
created the National Historic Site specified that the park is preserved to tell the
Andersonville story, the story of all Civil War POW camps (north and south) and the story
of all POWs in American History. In the 1980's the park staff developed a
partnership with the American Ex-Prisoners of War that led to a small temporary POW museum
on the park grounds.
A visit to the National P.O.W. Museum can be an
emotional experience. The architecture of the building, works of art, displays, and
video presentations all work together to tell the story of the prisoner of war experience.
The museum is not divided by wars. Exhibits
include prisoners of war from all wars together in one setting. Prisoners of war
have faced the same hardships since the American Revolution. The story being told is
not that of a single war, but that of all prisoners of war.
Half of the funds to establish the museum
came from donations. The majority of these funds came from the sale of the Prisoner
of War Commemorative Coin.
Each room in the museum tells a different part of the the prisoner of war
museum. Your visit should begin with a short film entitled, "Echoes of
Captivity" which is narrated by General Colin Powell. Then you will begin your
tour of the various areas of the museum:
- What is a P.O.W.?
- Journey to Camp
- Living Conditions
- News and Communication
- Those Who Wait
- Morale and Relationships
Directions from I-75 to the National P.O.W. Museum
Take exit 142 and turn west on GA 224. Follow GA 224
approximately 20 miles to Montezuma. There will be a stop sign where GA 224 ends at
GA 26. Turn right and follow GA 26 through Montezuma and Oglethorpe. There
will be a stop sign at the intersection of GA 26 and GA 49. Turn left on GA 49.
The Andersonville National Historic Site will be approximately 10 miles. The
entrance will be on the left side of the highway.
Andersonville Trail signs have been placed
throughout the area to help guide you to the site.