Would you have what it takes to be a paratrooper during D-Day? Would you crack during a Korean War assault? Learn about the Soldiers who made history at the free Soldiers Experience exhibit in Carlisle, Pa.

The major, new exhibit at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center uses diaries, letters, photos, uniform and equipment items, and Army records to demonstrate the stories of fellow Army Soldiers and Veterans. Every element of the exhibit links to a former or current Soldier.

Spanning 100+ years of Army history, the exhibit creates an interactive, personal, and detailed experience for visiting Soldiers, veterans, and friends. Starting with the Spanish-American War, distinct layers of the Soldiers' Experience unfold through World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam Conflict, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Taking a page from the National Holocaust Museum, visitors select a dog-tag scan card and follow a Soldier's story by scanning the card at different stations to learn additional information about that Soldier's experience -- does he live or die?

Veterans' impressions:

"We all like the museum as it appeals to all ages," said Lt. Col Todd Murphey, veteran of OEF and OIF. "The kids like to touch everything and the interactive displays were a hit."

"Anything about World War II holds my attention tremendously," said World War II veteran Dr. Harry Bobonich. "It took me way back. I was reliving that whole experience."

"I was favorably impressed with the very high quality, professional appearance, and effective flow and integration of the exhibits," said Donald Boose, who spoke from his experiences in Vietnam and through the Cold War era.

Iraqi Freedom veteran Lt. Col. Keith Blodgett called the exhibit, "Very comprehensive, interesting and a great source for many of the basic factors of being a Soldier. I think it hit the intended purpose," he said.

The Army Heritage and Education Center is an archival repository for research and support and exists to preserve the experiences and memories of those Soldiers who have helped shape history. Its collection of more than 65,000 artifacts, like uniforms and maps, and millions of photos were donated by individual Soldiers and Veterans. The center accepts donations every day.

The Collections include primary source material for Army research, to include general officer oral histories. Researchers can gain historical insights and conduct research on-site or on-line. Every Soldier and Veteran can add your story to the collection through the online Veteran Survey. Visit www.usahec.org to help the Center 'tell the Army story ... one Soldier at a time."

Carlisle, Pa. is a about a two-hour drive northwest of the Pentagon -- a great day trip to the history-loving center during the holiday season.
HOLIDAY HOURS are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. excepting Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. An on-site gift shop and café round out the visitors' experience.

Page last updated Fri December 14th, 2012 at 00:00