The strategic importance of the Mississippi River during the U.S. Civil War and the military campaigns initiated by both Union and Confederate forces are emphasized in five galleries of the museum. The major battles that occurred on the Mississippi, as well as those on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, are highlighted. The war on the river comes alive with a simulated battle between a Confederate river battery and a scale reproduction of the front one-third section of a Union Ironclad Gunboat. Personal artifacts and government-issued equipment from both sides are displayed.
Examples of the museum's collection in these galleries are: