• Charles Cureton, director of Army Museums, shows the Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal two historical swords held in the core collection of the United States Army at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va.  The sword in the foreground is an M-1913 Patton Saber, Serial Number 1.  Next to it is a sword carried by Captain John Berry, who commanded the Water Battery during the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.  Westphal visited the Museum Support Center Facility to gain situational awareness and view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

    Preserving and protecting Army history

    Charles Cureton, director of Army Museums, shows the Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal two historical swords held in the core collection of the United States Army at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center...

  • Art Curator Sarah Forgey shows shows Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal preserved art at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va. Westphal visited the Museum Support Center Facility to gain situational awareness and view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

    Preserving and protecting Army history

    Art Curator Sarah Forgey shows shows Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal preserved art at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va. Westphal visited the Museum Support...

  • Art Curator Sarah Forgey shows Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal four watercolors by Adolf Hitler at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va.  During his time in Vienna and Munich, Hitler supported himself as a street artist.  He applied twice to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and was twice denied admission. These four watercolors were owned by Heinrich Hoffman, Hitler's personal photographer.  Westphal visited the Museum Support Center Facility to gain situational awareness and view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

    Preserving and protecting Army history

    Art Curator Sarah Forgey shows Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal four watercolors by Adolf Hitler at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va. During his time in Vienna...

  • James Speraw, Army Curator, shows Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal a T3E2 Semi-Automatic, Caliber .276 Experimental Rifle at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va. This rifle, developed by John Garand at Springfield Armory, was the precursor to the M-1 rifle of World War II fame.  Westphal visited the Museum Support Center Facility to gain situational awareness and view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

    Preserving and protecting Army history

    James Speraw, Army Curator, shows Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal a T3E2 Semi-Automatic, Caliber .276 Experimental Rifle at the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va...

  • Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal walks through the collections area flanked by Charles Cureton and Robert Dalessandro, director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History at the Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort Belvoir, Va. Paintings visible on the screen in the background are World War II works by Life Magazine artist-correspondent George Biddle.  Westphal visited the Museum Support Center Facility to gain situational awareness and view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

    Preserving and protecting Army history

    Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal walks through the collections area flanked by Charles Cureton and Robert Dalessandro, director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History at the Museum Support Center Facility, May 30, 2012, at Fort...

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (May 30, 2012)--Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visited the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museum Support Center Facility to gain situational awareness and view the impressive collection of over 16,000 pieces of American history housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

Rob Dalessandro, executive director, U.S. Army Center of Military History, and Charles H. Cureton, chief of the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Museums Division, explained the role of the support center and introduced Westphal to the skilled workforce, comprised of a crew of 32 who restore and carefully manage hundreds of years of Army history.

"I am very impressed with this talented team of professionals and this amazing facility that manages such important pieces of Army, and American, history," Westphal commented.

The curators meticulously manage all of the material in the support facility, registering and cataloging all of the artifacts in a comprehensive database before they are stored in the climate controlled and energy efficient building.

"To preserve the pieces here the air is filtered and decontaminated and the building is kept at 68 degrees with 50 percent relative humidity," said Sarah Forgey, the center's art curator, as she explained the complicated process of maintaining the priceless works.

"The Museum Support Center will better support the U.S. Army Center of Military History's effort to tell the history of the U.S. Army and is leading the way for all the services in preserving and protecting our military history," Dalessandro said.

During his tour of the facility, Westphal recognized the workforce for their expertise and dedication to preserving history and the importance of their contributions to telling the Army's story. "The work that you do honors the sacrifices of our Soldiers and preserves their contributions to this nation and the history of our country," Westphal told the workforce.

The Army's official interest in art originated in World War I, and the program has evolved to encompass a world class collection of a wide range of military art and artifacts, including unit colors from the Civil War and several watercolor paintings by Adolf Hitler.

The Museum Support Facility is managed by the Center of Military History, or CMH, which is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army. CMH provides historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, military history education, writes the official history of the U.S. Army and manages the Army's museum system. It supports the use of history to foster unit pride and give today's Soldiers an understanding of the Army's past.

To learn more about how the Center of Military History preserves Army history visit http://www.history.army.mil/.

Page last updated Tue June 5th, 2012 at 00:00