Things To Do

Life size cabin display as part of museum exhibit.
Museum exhibit highlighting the lives of refugees who came to Camp Nelson seeking freedom and opportunity during the Civil War.


Visitor Center and Museum

Through museum exhibits and a short film, the visitor center provides an orientation to the historic events that unfolded at Camp Nelson. Objects on display and museum exhibits provide a window into the role Camp Nelson played during its height as a military installation, supply depot, hospital, recruitment center, and refugee camp.

Two story wooden house with Civil War cannon in front.
The Oliver Perry House is the only building at Camp Nelson National Monument that dates to the Civil War.


Oliver Perry House

The Oliver Perry House [White House] is an original home built in the mid-1850s and was used as US Army officer quarters while the property was part of Camp Nelson (1863-1866). The home is presently undergoing renovation work and is not open.

Dusk light settles on large wooden barracks building.
The reconstructed barracks building offers a glimpse of soldier life at Camp Nelson.


Reconstructed US Army Barracks

Sitting near the site of the original barracks building, the reconstructed barracks include exhibits describing the military service and experience of United States Colored Troops throughout the war, and the biographies of individual soldiers who enlisted at Camp Nelson. The exhibit is open from 9:30am - 4:30pm (closed between 12:00-1:00pm for lunch) on a seasonal basis, as staffing allows. Visitors can check at the front desk to find out the availability of the barracks exhibit for the day.

Fence runs through field where flag marks earthen mound.
Reconstructed Fort Putnam shows the Civil War appearance of earthworks.


Walking Trails

Over five miles of hiking trails allow visitors to experience first-hand the rolling pastoral landscape of Camp Nelson National Monument. This trail system and numerous interpretive markers provide an opportunity to explore earthworks and fortifications that protected Camp Nelson and allow visitors to walk in the footsteps of soldiers in order to gain an understanding of the sites' significant role during the Civil War.

Man walks toward sign in front of old wooden church building.
The Hall community was created by people transitioning from enslavement to citizenship.


Hall Community

The community of Ariel (now Hall) grew out of the Home for Colored Refugees after Camp Nelson itself was closed and disassembled. After the Civil War, the community of former USCT soldiers and their families grew to include homes, stores, churches and Arial Academy. While there are no buildings that date to the Home for Colored Refugee-era, there is a small church built in 1912 and named in honor of John Fee who dedicated his life to creating educational opportunities for African Americans. Today there are still descendents of USCT soldiers who call the Hall community home.

The Hall site has limited parking and there are no visitor or restroom facilities.

Straight rows of headstones in national cemetery.
Camp Nelson National Cemetery is administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Camp Nelson National Cemetery

In June 1866, Camp Nelson U.S. Army Depot was closed, but Camp Nelson National Cemetery, with over 2,400 Federal dead, was created that same year. The cemetery is located adjacent to the national monument and is open daily from dawn to dusk.

Last updated: July 10, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

6614 Old Danville Road Loop 2
Nicholasville, KY 40356


(859) 881-5716
The phone is usually answered 7-days per week, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Voice messages are checked regularly.

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