En español | Nearly 250 years after its founding, the Army is finally getting its own museum. Opening Nov. 11, 2020, the National Museum of the United States Army will be located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, just outside Washington, and, through artifacts, documents and images, will tell the story of our country's oldest military branch.
It's meant to “serve as a home for our soldiers and veterans,” says museum director Tammy Call, and to “tell the Army's history through [individual soldiers'] eyes and voices."
The 185,000-square-foot institution will have three main sections.
- Soldiers’ Stories Gallery will tell the personal accounts of those who served throughout the Army's history.
- Army and Society Gallery will track the relationship between the Army and civilian life.
- Fighting for the Nation Galleries will explain the history of the Army and how it grew into one of the most advanced fighting forces in the world.
Museums Dedicated to Other Branches
- National Museum of the Marine Corps
Triangle, Virginia (outside Quantico)
- National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Riverside, Ohio (outside Dayton)
- National Museum of the U.S. Navy
- U.S. Coast Guard Academy Museum
New London, Connecticut
Planning for a National Coast Guard Museum began in 2017.
It will also exhibit several “macro artifacts” — including tanks so large and heavy they had to moved to their display areas before the museum's walls were constructed — as well as a theater, spaces for temporary installations and events, a café, interactive exhibits, an outdoor amphitheater and a Medal of Honor Garden.
In support of the museum's theme, Service and Sacrifice, the Army Historical Foundation created a registry to recognize and honor the active-duty soldiers, veterans, civilians and animals who worked with or for the Army; it will be on display in the museum and online.
Personalized bricks to honor soldiers, units, families and civilians will be installed on the museum's grounds. The first group of bricks will be placed on the Path of Remembrance, which leads visitors to the building's entrance.
After the Army Historical Foundation led initial fundraising efforts, construction began in 2017. The nonprofit has raised $183 million as of June 2020 but needs to bring in $200 million to finish the project. The sale of items such as commemorative bricks and tribute plaques will help the foundation reach its goal.
The museum plans to routinely update health and safety guidelines on its website. Free tickets are available through a timed system, to manage capacity.
A small opening ceremony will be livestreamed, to encourage people to participate from wherever they reside. The museum will add more details to its website at a later date.
Editor's note: This story, originally published Oct. 15, 2019, has been updated to reflect the museum’s new opening date.