Author: Richard L. Baker, Research Historian, U.S. Army Military History Institute/U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Thirty years ago this week, April 1st 1977, the major military history organization at Carlisle Barracks was redesignated as the United State Army Military History Institute (<a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/MHI.htm" target="_blank">USAMHI</a>). USAMHI was previously known as the US Army Military History Research Collection, originating in 1967. The founding director was Colonel George S Pappas. He started the collection with 50000 volumes, two assistants, and a vision.

By 1977 the Institute was operating the <a href="http://ahecwebdds.carlisle.army.mil/awapps/pdfopener'smd=1&md=1&did=44042" target="_blank">Omar Bradley</a> Museum, the <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/events.htm" target="_blank">"Perspectives in Military History"</a> lecture series, and the "Senior Officer Oral History Program." Over the past 40 years the collections have expanded to include over 400000 books, 300000 military manuals, 1.7 million photographs, and 12.5 million unpublished soldiers' letters, diaries, memoirs, manuscripts, and archives. Over 15 million holdings are available to officers and enlisted personnel of the Army and the other Armed Services, to veterans, and to the public for study.

In 2002, the USAMHI became a major component of the Army Heritage and Education Center <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec" target="_blank">(AHEC)</a>. The new organization incorporated the facilities and collections of the Institute and added the Army Heritage Museum <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/Exhibits_Current.htm" target="_blank">(AHM)</a> and the Visitors and Education Services <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/VES.htm" target="_blank">(VES)</a> and the Collection Management directorates. In September 2004, Colonel Pappas' vision found further fulfillment when the institution he created moved to a new facility, "<a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/AHEC_history.htm" target="_blank">Ridgway Hall</a>." Located on an expanded campus of over 56 acres on the eastern part of Carlisle Barracks, this modern facility combines state-of-the-art archival storage with superior patron service facilities. Here, the story of the <a href="http://ahecwebdds.carlisle.army.mil/awapps/pdfopener'smd=1&md=1&did=95153" target="_blank">American Soldier</a> is presented through the expanding collections of the USAMHI, the developing displays of the AHM, and the educational programs of the VES. Additions to the program include the outside <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/HeritageTrail.htm" target="_blank">Army Heritage Trail</a>, <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/Exhibits_Traveling.htm" target="_blank">traveling exhibits</a>, and the <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/KleberReadingSeries_Dec_06.htm" target="_blank">Kleber Reading Series</a>.

The <a href="http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/AHEC_history.htm" target="_blank">future</a> is bright for the AHEC. Plans include the construction of a Visitor and Education Center, a Conservation Center, and the Army Heritage Museum. These endeavors are supported by the <a href="http://www.armyheritage.org/"_blank">Army Heritage Center Foundation</a>, a private, nonprofit organization, dedicated to funding the projects and supporting the continued efforts towards "Telling the Army Story-One Soldier at a Time."

The AHEC has joined with Army.mil to bring to the Army, to veterans, to the American public, and to the world the continuing history of the United States Army. Please visit this weekly feature for insights into the past, present, and future of America's senior military service.

Page last updated Thu March 22nd, 2007 at 13:13