Glimpses into two of our nation's most pivotal wars can be found within Kinston at two different historical sites. At the Governor Richard Caswell Memorial, located on Vernon Avenue, you will explore the celebrated life of Richard Caswell, the first governor of the independent state of North Carolina, and his role in establishing North Carolina as part of the United States. 

Hours and Location

CSS Neuse Museum
Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and most major holidays. 

100 N. Queen St.
Kinston, NC 28501

Caswell Memorial
Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

2612 W. Vernon Ave. (U.S. 70 Bus.)
Kinston, NC 28504

Visitors should call ahead, as hours sometimes change unexpectedly. Large groups should call 252-526-9600, ext. 222 or 221.


Adults - $5
Seniors (65+) - $4 
Active Military (w/ I.D.) - $4
Children (Ages 3 - 12) - $3
Children (Ages 0 - 2) - Free

We are a Blue Star Museum. We offer free admission to active-duty military with ID and up to five family members. The program generally runs from late May through the first week of September. Please follow us on social media for updates. 

Special rates for groups of 10 or more. Group rates are $3/per adult and $1/per student. 

Self-Guided Tours

The CSS Neuse Museum is set up to be self-guided. However, we now offer an audio tour, which you can download on Google Play and the App Store for FREE! Please search for CSS Neuse Museum Tours. We have WIFI available, but you will not need WIFI once you download the content. The audio tour includes tours for children and adults, a scavenger hunt, additional video content, and quiz questions in various sections of the audio tour. 

Guided Tours

Guided tours of the CSS Neuse Museum and the Governor Richard Caswell Memorial are available upon request. We ask that groups make reservations in advance by calling 252-526-9600, ext. 222 or 221. Adult groups are $3 per person, and student groups are $1 per person (activity fee). 

Please choose one of the options below for your guided tour:

First Floor Tour - Learn about the significance of Kinston during the Civil War. Visitors will get to view the remains of the CSS Neuse, delve deeper into the ship's history by learning about the crew who served on board, see the artifacts recovered from the remains, and hear about its role in the war. Additionally, you will learn what happened to the ship at the war's end. (Approximate length: 45-60 minutes)

Mezzanine Tour—This tour will offer a glimpse into what life was like in Kinston during the war. Our exhibits showcase eyewitness accounts and period artifacts, including clothing, textiles, merchandise, and tools. You'll even learn about religious practices and mourning rituals.

We also have some exciting exhibits that explore the Civil War in eastern North Carolina. You can read about the United States Colored Troops, women in espionage, the First Battle of Kinston, the Battle of Wise’s Fork, and many other significant events. (Approximate length: 45-60 minutes)

Scavenger Hunt with a Historic Interpreter: This is our most popular option for school groups! Upon completing the orientation film, students will be grouped into teams of three or four to embark on our newly improved scavenger hunt while exploring the museum. Based on the time available, students will have around 20-25 minutes to explore the downstairs area and an additional 20 minutes to explore the upstairs to complete the scavenger hunt.

Group Reservations


CSS Neuse Civil War Museum 

At the CSS Neuse Civil War Museum, which is now located downtown, you will see the remains of the Confederate ironclad, the CSS Neuse. The museum's first floor offers visitors valuable insight into Kinston's location, the ship's historical significance, sailor life, and the ship's recovery. The mezzanine level boasts a range of exhibits that showcase the rich history of Lenoir County, including topics such as African Americans, textiles, mourning, and the Civil War in eastern North Carolina. Visitors will have the opportunity to delve into the history of Burnside's Expedition, Battles in Kinston during the war, and the end of the war in North Carolina.

Governor Richard Caswell Memorial
New exhibits were installed in August 2007, rededicating the building to Governor Caswell. Some of the items on display include Caswell's law books, family Bible, and his daughter's tea set. The Caswell Memorial building also houses offices, restrooms, and a gift shop.

Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibits
The Caswell family cemetery is located on the grounds. 

Accessibility at the CSS Neuse Museum 


  • Our museum map, orientation film script, and guided tour script are all available in Spanish.

  • We are now offering Spanish tours quarterly. Please follow us on social media for the date and time.

Guests Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing 

  • Sign Language Interpretation for live presentations or programs - is available upon request. Please make requests two weeks in advance by email at

  • Assistive listening devices are available for tours upon request.

  • Transcript of our orientation film in regular font and large font

  • Transcript of our guided tour in regular font and large font

Guests Who Are Blind or Low Vision

  • Digital Video Magnifier, Handheld Portable Electronic Reading Aid

  • 3X Large Ultra Bright LED Page Magnifier with 12 Anti-Glare Dimmable LEDs 

  • Large print is available for our self-guided tour.

  • Signage for accessibility items with contrasting colors

Guests with Mobility Disabilities 

  • Wheelchairs are available to rent for free.

  • Walkers and Cane are available to rent for free. 

  • An elevator that goes up to the mezzanine 

  • Accessible seating is available in the A/V room.

  • Accessible restroom stalls in both bathrooms

  • Automatic doors

Guests with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorders

KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Certification

The certification process entailed the staff at the CSS Neuse Museum being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads will also be available to all guests at the CSS Neuse Museum who may feel overwhelmed by the environment by requesting a bag at the front desk. 

With its new certification, the CSS Neuse Museum is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any event at the CSS Neuse Museum. 

Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App to view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also on the App is the Social Story, which provides a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event at CSS Neuse Museum.

  • Noise-canceling headphones

  • Children’s center activities, autism sensory educational toys, color and learn map tablecloth with washable fabric markers, and interactive STEM toys for brain development.

  • Fidget toys, including pop-its

Picnic Facilities/Lunch Options
Some tables are available on the grounds at the Caswell Memorial, and there is ample space for a picnic. If you would like your class to have lunch at the CSS Neuse Museum, please email Rachel at

Gift Shop
Our gift shop is stocked and supported by our non-profit support group, the Friends of the CSS Neuse Museum. All sales from the gift shop go to support educational programming and events at the CSS Neuse Museum.