More than 245 years of history is now on display that the newly opened National Museum of the United States Army located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The museum is the first to tell the entire history of the nation’s oldest military service, immersing visitors in the story of the U.S. Army through compelling galleries, moving exhibits, a multisensory 300-degree theater, tranquil rooftop garden and hundreds of historic treasures rarely or never-before-seen by the public.
“We had an Army before we had a nation,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz, president of the Army Historical Foundation, said.
According to Schultz, the museum allows visitors to see and hear the personal stories of courage and emotion from the American Revolution through the current wars of today.
“What’s really important here is that we, the visiting public here, understand and begin to appreciate the selfless duty in the forms of millions and millions who have served in our Army, and that’s the story worth remembering and talking about,” he said.
The museum showcases soldiers in a variety of theaters over time, covering 22 campaigns and showcasing 190 battle streamers.
According to Schultz, the Army was adamant that these depictions be as life-like as possible, and allowed active-duty soldiers to serve as cast models for the mannequins on display. For Schultz, creating the figures from today’s Army soldiers brings history to life in a dynamic way.
“You can sense the emotion. You can sense the fear. You sense the courage … It is almost real.”
“What this place means and what Army soldiers mean, what their families mean to our nation is beyond description,” Schultz said.
The museum also has an experiential learning center for children from age three through middle and high school that focuses on geography and STEM education. For Schultz, the team building piece is the biggest takeaway for children.
“That’s essentially how the Army operates today,” he said. “Not only are we being led in the ranks by great leaders but soldiers in the ranks are willing to share duties and responsibilities with others.”
The museum is on Army property but open and accessible to the general public. Free, timed-entry tickets are required for entry and available through the museum’s website at theNMUSA.org. Due to high demand, those visiting are encouraged to book tickets online before visiting the museum.
The museum’s construction was supported, in part, by the Army Historical Foundation’s Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. Nearly 200,000 veterans, Army families and grateful Americans have raised more than $183 million towards the $200 million campaign goal. The Foundation will continue the campaign as the museum opens to the public. Those interested in supporting the campaign can visit ArmyHistory.org.Read comments