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Touring the Shriver House Museum

If you want a unique and entertaining historical tour, you will want to visit the Shriver House in Gettysburg PA. Though the town is full of attractions that help visitors understand how locals were affected by The Battle of Gettysburg, this stop was one of my favorites. Led by a guide in period clothing, they have found a way to make the tour fun and entertaining as you walk through the historic home of one of the wealthiest families in town. Learn about the Shriver family, the Civil War, and the Battle of Gettysburg, and get an up-close look at how one family’s life was changed forever.

Shriver House Museum Sign and Entrance

Is the Shriver House Dog Friendly?

The Shriver House is NOT a dog-friendly attraction, so plan on leaving your pup behind when you visit this museum. See our tips for leaving your dog alone in a new place so you can still visit non-dog-friendly stops like this one.

What is Shriver House?

The Shriver House is a historic home where the Shriver family lived during the Civil War and was one of the many homes used to house and treat injured soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg. It was even one of the homes where Confederate soldiers took cover inside and used as a lookout and sharpshooter’s nest when the battle reached the actual town.

Shriver House Flyer Civilians Caught in the Crossfire

Where to Stay When Visiting Shriver House

Gettysburg has a ton of options to choose from if you are looking for a place to stay. Keep in mind that because this is a popular destination, it is best to book as far ahead as possible during the summer months to get the best deal.

Campsites Near Gettysburg Pennsylvania

If you are looking to camp during your stay, there are several campgrounds in the area where you can tent camp, bring your RV, or rent a cabin:

Hotels Near Gettysburg

Use our link to find the best hotel for your vacation!


Where to Eat When Visiting the Shriver House

The city of Gettysburg has a ton of different restaurants. Here are a few options within walking distance from the Shriver House:

Shriver House

The Shriver House in downtown Gettysburg gives guided tours of the historic home. The tour guides are dressed in period clothing and will talk to you about the Shriver family and what is what like for them during the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg.

Drawing of Shriver House and other articles

Shriver House Price and Hours

The Shriver House is open seasonally and hours do vary according to the time of year that you visit. During the busier months of April through October, they are open 7 days a week. Monday through Friday their hours are 12-5 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 6 pm, and Sundays 10 am to 5 pm.  

Normal guided tours cost $11.95 per person. This gives you access to the garden behind the house as well as a guided tour of the home.

Close up of items in one of the bedrooms in Shriver House

There are two different types of special tours each year; 5 Christmases at Shriver House in December and Confederates take Shriver House in July, which cost $15 a person. You can book your tours online or in person in the gift shop. Virtual Tours are available on the website at no cost.

Travel Tip:  If you are planning on visiting several of the museums in Gettysburg or are traveling with numerous people, consider getting the Value Plan to save money on several attractions in the area.

Shriver House Gift Shop

You will find the Shriver House gift shop to your right when you enter the building. This is where you will check-in and/or buy your tour tickets. The gift shop has a wide variety of souvenirs to purchase such as local preserves, pocket watches, and even dolls of the Shriver children.

Shriver House Gift Shop

How Long Can You Spend at Shriver House?

I would set aside about an hour total for this stop if you have a smaller tour group in order to have time to see the garden, complete the tour, and look around the gift shop. The guided tours at Shriver House typically take about 30 minutes to complete, with larger groups taking up to an hour.

What to Expect at the Shriver House

The Shriver House is a single-family home restored to Civil War times and staged to give visitors an idea of what it would have looked like during and after the Battle of Gettysburg. Tours led by a guide in period costume will take you through each floor of the house explaining what each room was for, and how the wealthy Shriver family managed during and after the fighting in Gettysburg.

Entryway to the Shriver House Museum

There is a small gift shop inside as well as a display of artifacts from the home on the main floor. If you exit the house and turn to your right, you will find a small alleyway that will lead you to the garden behind the home.

Part of the Shriver Garden

The Shriver House Museum does NOT have a parking lot. There is metered parking available on the street that you can pay for with change or through the paybyphone parking app.  If you booked your tour in advance, I suggest arriving early to give you enough time to find parking especially during the summer or on the weekend.

Shriver House Garden

Visitors are able to explore the small garden behind the home before or after your tour. To get to the garden, you do have to leave the building, turn right, and walk up the street to a small alleyway next to the Shriver Saloon sign.

sign by the Alley to Shriver House Garden
Alley to Shriver House Garden

As you walk through this alley, take a look at the brick wall to your right and you can see bullet holes from the Battle of Gettysburg still in the wall.

Bullet holes in wall in Alleyway by Shriver House

The garden is designed to mimic the types of plants that would have been there in the 1800s. You can see different types of herbs, flowers, vegetables, and other plants like lamb’s ear (used for bandages) and Yucca. During this time period, Protestants would often have a Yucca plant in the center of the gardens.

Shriver House Garden

Guided Tour of the Shriver House

The Shriver House tour lasts around 30 minutes for the average group and is led by a guide in period costume. To start off the tour, the guide will start to share the history of the Shriver family, one of the wealthiest families in Gettysburg. The family was made up of George Washington Shriver, his wife, Hettie, and their two daughters Sadie and Mollie.

Portraits of the Shriver Family

They will go over the rules and what you can expect from the rest of the tour.  Since the building is a historic home, visitors are asked to avoid touching or leaning against any of the walls while going through the house. While going up and down the stairs, you CAN touch the railings for support.

Shriver Tour Guide speaking to Tour Group

Once the formalities are out of the way, your tour will begin in earnest after a short walk up the street into the home. Your tour will start on the first floor with the dining room and then up to the second floor to view the three bedrooms and a crafting-type room.

One of the bedrooms in Shriver House

As you progress through the house, you will hear more about the Shriver family’s living circumstances and the details of their new business ventures as the Civil War started breaking out.

Eventually, you will be taken up to the attic which is a mess. This is done on purpose to show what it would have looked like during the battle in town. Your guide will tell the story of how Confederate soldiers had broken into the house and used the attic as a sharpshooter nest.

Attic in Shriver House with discarded items from Confederate soldiers

You can see discarded guns, bandages, and holes that were made in the walls to give them more vantage points. They will also tell you how they were able to piece together what happened with the evidence left behind.

After visiting the attic, you will go back down the stairs to see the sitting area and kitchen on the first floor. These rooms reflect the mess that the Confederate soldiers left behind when they left. At this point, your guide will talk about the damage both Union and Confederate soldiers left behind in the towns that they ransacked. It was very interesting to hear that the amount of damage that the Confederates soldiers did in northern towns was actually much less than what the Union soldiers had done in the South.

Dining room in disarray from Confederate soldiers trashing it inside Shriver House

Next, the tour will take you down to the basement which has two different areas. On one side, you will get to see one of the family’s business ventures; Shriver’s Saloon and Ten-pin Alley.

Bar in Shriver's Saloon

The other part of the basement is the family’s area where you can see what the aftermath of taking in and treating injured soldiers must have looked like during the fighting.

Bloody towels hanging by barrels in shriver Basement

After you have explored the basement, you will be taken back to the gift shop area for the end of your tour. The back wall has a display case full of civil war artifacts that were discovered during the house renovations that you can look at for as long as you want.

Shoe found in bedroom ceiling of Shriver House

Confederates Take the Shriver House Tour

The Confederates Take the Shriver House only happens one day a year around the 4th of July. It is a reenactment of when Confederate Soldiers entered the house and sharpshooters set up shop in the attic during the Battle of Gettysburg.

close up of rifle and discarded cartridges  in attic of Shriver House

During this event, you will get to hear Hettie Shriver talk to her neighbors about the possibility of evasion and then see the Confederate soldiers fire muskets from their spot in the attic. You will also get to tour the rest of the house and have a chance to talk to doctors and nurses who would have been taking care of wounded soldiers. This tour will end with refreshments in George Shriver’s Saloon.

5 Christmases in the Shriver House Tour

This candlelight tour is only available from Thanksgiving through Christmas and is inspired by the 5 Christmases the Shrivers spent in this home. Their first Christmas in the house was just months before the Civil War began and your guide will talk about how families had celebrated Christmas during the war and of course the effect it had on the Shriver family in particular. During your visit, you will be able to see the house decorated for Christmas as it would have been in the 1860s. These tours are typically only available on Fridays and Saturdays, so it is recommended that you book your tickets in advance.

lit candle in dark room

Nearby Attractions:

For ideas of places to visit in and around Gettysburg, check out these stops.

Attractions Around Gettysburg:

Attractions Near Gettysburg:

Dog-friendly Attractions near Gettysburg:

Why You Should Visit:

The Shriver House was one of my favorite places to visit in Gettysburg! Our guide was fantastic, and she presented historical facts through entertaining jokes and interesting stories about the Shriver family. I was concerned that this tour was going to be very similar to some of the other attractions we had been to since the focus was on the effects of the Battle of Gettysburg on the townspeople. I was thrilled to see that this stop was very unique in the way they presented the facts and talked about the history there. I highly recommend that the Shriver House Museum makes it onto your Gettysburg Bucket List!

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Animal and wildlife enthusiast that currently owns four dogs, loves to travel, and try new things while saving as much money as possible!

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