Top 12 Military Museums to Visit in America

An overhead view of the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tuscon, Arizona, which features a myriad of military aircraft. Credit: Discover Marana.

Military museums are places where history and imagination come together; they provide a narrative of the contributions our service branches have made to the country.

The actor Brad Pitt had a point when he once noted, “It’s a lovely experience walking around a museum by yourself.”

What follows is a list of the 12 best military museums.

 


Coast Guard Museums


Plans for a new Coast Guard museum. Credit: Navy Times.

Coast Guard Heritage Museum – Barnstable, Massachusetts

www.coastguardheritagemuseum.org

The history of the United State Coast Guard is on display here, and it sails from the days of the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life Saving Service to the United States Lighthouse Service.  Over 100 models of vessels and aircraft are on display.

Coast Guard Museum Northwest – Seattle, Washington

www.rexmwess.com

Thousands of Coast Guard related items ranging from  art of the USS Constitution and the rudder of the HMS Bounty to lighthouse and buoy lenses, old and new uniforms, ship’s wheels, binnacles, a Coast Guard Flag from the first Space Shuttle flight.  

 


Army Museums


The Army museum in Singapore. Credit: The Wacky Duo.

National Infantry Museum – Fort Benning, Georgia

www.nationalinfantrymuseum.org

The “Last 100 Yards” exhibit gives visitors a sense of the formidable challenge infantry soldiers face in battle.  From the Siege of Yorktown to the War in Iraq, the infantry leads the way.

US Army Aviation Museum – Fort Rucker, Alabama

www.armyaviationmuseum.org

Rather than static displays aircraft parked wingtip to wingtip , visitors step into life-size dioramas to experience the drama of army aviation from a variety of exhibits conveying the experience of flying.

Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum and the US Army Field Artillery Museum – Fort Sill, Oklahoma

www.fortsillmuseum.com

This Army post stands on what was once the American frontier, and as such it houses the largest collection of Native American history.  Nearby, the artillery museum hosts big guns from 1775 to the present, as well as artifacts from hear gear and ammunition to small arms and uniforms.  

 


Air Force Museums


WWII aircraft at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Credit: Dayton Daily News.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

www.nationalmuseum.af.mil

From the infantry’s point of view to the pilot’s perspective, this museum focus on military aircraft equals that of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  

The Pima Air & Space Museum – Tucson, Arizona

www.pimaair.org

One of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums with over 350 historical aircraft, it features three hangers dedicated to World War II aircraft and a bus tour of the military’s 2600-acre “Aircraft Boneyard.”  

 


Navy Museums


Navy museum,Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Credit: Holiday Destination Lower Saxony.

The National Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola, Florida

www.navalaviationmuseum.org

The museum offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves through simulators and virtual reality programs.  Home to the Blue Angels, the history of the squadron is celebrated in exhibits and films.

US Naval Academy Museum – Annapolis, Maryland

www.museum.usna.edu

Located in Preble Hall, over 100,000 visitors witness the Navy’s history of sea power through video and audio technology.  

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park – Honolulu, Hawaii

www.peralharborhistoricsites.org

Moored near the Arizona Memorial, this maritime museum lets guests experience the entire submarine from the control room and officers’ quarters to the galley and engine room.  

 


Marine Museums


National Museum of the Marine Corps. Credit: ArchDaily.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps – Triangle, Virginia

www.usmcmuseum.com

This tribute to the Corps is a modern immersive museum where visitors can shoulder a backpack and experience a drill sergeant yelling in their ears.  When first entering the structure, guests experience an elaborate vignette scene in which they land on Tarawa in a helicopter.

The Flying Leathernecks Marine Corps Museum – San Diego, California

www.flyinglearthernecks.org

The only museum dedicated to the Corps in the western part of the United States, it displays a number of fighter planes as well as artifacts from World War II, the Korean War, and the War in Vietnam.  

 

These museums and others across the nation offer the experience of walking through and learning about our nation’s military history.

 

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