Opening Date Announced for National Museum of the U.S. Army

Opening Date Announced for National Museum of the U.S. Army
An Aug. 19 overhead image of the National Museum of the United States Army, located near the gates of Virginia's Fort Belvoir. (Army photo)

(A version of this article originally appeared in Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)

The National Museum of the United States Army, the first museum dedicated to the entirety of the Army’s 244-year history, will open its doors June 4, 2020, according to an Aug. 28 Army news release.

The museum, under construction since 2016 near the gates of Fort Belvoir, Va., will be free to the public, though visitors will need timed-entry tickets to manage crowds. Learn more about the process, and sign up to receive an update when tickets become available, here.

“For veterans, this is to recognize the importance of the Army, the combat missions, humanitarian missions,” Tammy Call, director of the museum, said in a recent Military Officer piece about the museum. “This is home for you.”

Plans for the museum have been in the works for nearly three decades. The Army designated the Army Historical Foundation as the o­fficial fund-raiser; the Army will take ownership and run operations once the museum is open.

Locations in Pennsylvania and the metropolitan D.C. area were considered before the final selection was made. The property includes a memorial garden for reflection, an amphitheater for ceremonies and events, a parade ground complex for reenactments, and a trail to learn about Army survival tactics.

The museum will feature artifacts, documents, images, and selections from the Army Art Collection that tell the Army story in a 185,000-square-foot building. The museum will emphasize the theme of “service and sacrifice” throughout its exhibits.

The three main attractions will be the Soldiers’ Stories Gallery, Army and Society Gallery, and Fighting for the Nation Gallery. In one gallery, a series of chronological exhibits will show visitors what it means to be a soldier during times of war and peace.


The National Museum of the United States Army will open to the public on June 4, 2020. (Army photo)

Maj. Gen. Carl McNair Jr., USA (Ret), a MOAA Life Member and board member for the Army History Foundation, told Military Officer the museum will give people a chance to walk through history.

“I think they will get a great deal of history,” he said. “This museum goes from the Revolutionary War to current [times]. I think they’ll see the value to tell what the Army is like. This is the finest place to see your Army.”

McNair graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and served 32 years in the Army as an aviation officer. He flew Sioux and Iroquois helicopters during his three tours in Vietnam, served as the Army’s project officer to procure Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, and also served as chief of the Aviation Branch, which he describes as both rewarding and challenging.

“It was a great leap because it was total mobility,” he said. Reflecting on his career, McNair says the most enjoyable aspect was working with soldiers. As he meets soldiers today, he encourages them to make the military a career.

“The Army is probably the finest thing you can do for your country,” he said.

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA's staff writer. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.

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Amanda Dolasinski
Amanda Dolasinski

Dolasinski is a former staff writer at MOAA.