Long Time Waiting, But the National Museum Of The United States Army Is Almost Here
The United States if full of museums and memorials for those who have served in the Armed Forces. From the Vietnam Memorial to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, you can find just about anything which memorializes specific conflicts or time periods of U.S. history. Until now, there has not been anything that completely memorializes the entire history of specific branch of government. Scheduled to open in 2015, the National Museum of the United States Army is set to change that.
“I have been to monument dedications throughout the United States, but this is one that I believe I have looked forward to the most, “ said Doug Christiansen, a photographer from Mount Zion, Illinois. “The announcements about what to expect inside the museum have been quiet, which makes the anticipation grown even more.” Christiansen says he plans to travel to the opening ceremony with his wife and three children.
Construction on the museum is set to begin in fall of 2013 and will be located within minute of Washington D.C. at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. It is planned to be a 155,000 square foot building set on over 40 acres of property. According to the Association of the United States Army, the museum will be accessible without having to enter the base which will make access less complex for visitors. The cost of the project is estimated at approximately $200 Million and the website for the museum is already up and running. When completed, the museum will celebrate the history of the United States Army from 1775 to present, including the men and women who have served both in war and during times of peace.
The project is the brainchild of the Department of the Army, who received fundraising support from the Army Historical Foundation. Visitor expectation is expected to be a little less than 1 Million people annually. With this many people expected to visit, the Department of the Army has spared no expense on the design. They have contracted with two nationally known firms, Christopher Chadbourne & Associates and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. For those not familiar, Christopher Chadbourne & Associates has a wealth of museum design experience, while Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is the architectural design firm responsible for the design of the Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center.
They have also spared no expense on the pre-opening of the museum. They have contracted with award winning producer and director Kevin Meyer to write, direct, and produce a series of short documentaries for the new museum. The documentaries include voice over narration by Rex Linn and Karri Turner and will be available in the “Experiential Learning Center” on the museum website prior to opening, and then part of the traveling exhibit which will tour the country prior to landing at the museum on opening day. “This is a great experience for me being able to take part in something so special to this country,” stated Meyer. “I have worked in film for many years on many projects, but this one will always be forefront in my mind. My brother and nephews serve in the military and as a filmmaker, this is my way of giving back.” Meyer has produced many well known films including “Perfect Alibi” starring Teri Garr and also wrote the 1997 romantic comedy film “A Smile Like Yours” starring Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly.
The site for the project was approved from Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh in June 2011. “In presenting the Army’s storied 236-year history, this long-overdue facility will offer the American people a unique opportunity to connect with our Soldiers and better understand and appreciate their many and glorious stories,” said McHugh. He is correct that a project like this is long overdue. To have something that covers the history of the U.S. Army so thoroughly is something that those who have served deserve. It is nice to see it finally coming to fruition.
Garry Reynolds is a decorated veteran of the United States Army and spends his time traveling to many of the U.S.’s most popular travel destinations.