By Tristan Jung
The newly constructed National Museum of the United States Army has had its grand opening. Located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the new museum was dedicated on Veterans Day 2020 and will serve as a learning tool, memorial, and archival repository for the US Army. Most importantly, it offers a place for soldiers from 240 years of American history to tell their stories.
A number of interactive, true-to-life exhibits are featured in the museum, including two virtual reality installations, a Training Center filled with Army-related STEM activities, and many human figures based on real service members. There are exhibits from all eras of American history, from the American Revolution up to War on Terror. Historians and designers have strayed away from an artificial version of American military history – exhibits and figures are designed to bring stories to life, including the hardship, effort, and suffering of everyone involved.
The idea for the museum was drawn up all the way back in 2000, with construction going on from 2017 to 2020, according to the AP. On Veterans Day, the museum was opened with Ryan McCarthy, Secretary of the Army, and Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in attendance.
The building is approximately 185,000 square feet and built on 84 acres of land at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The space is about 20 miles south of Washington DC and a short drive from the National Marine Corps Museum near Quantico. Funds for the museum were raised by the Army Historical Foundation.
Currently, the museum is operating on a timed ticket-entry system to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Admission is free and the museum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Learn more at the museum’s official website.