By Alysia Spivey, Public Affairs InternSeptember 7, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- While many people enjoy a regular visit and learning experience at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, fellow military-themed museums also offer people a look inside American military history.
From the Florida panhandle to Alabama's capital, here are several of the many nearby military-themed museums that are worth a visit.
NATIONAL INFANTRY MUSEUM
The National Infantry Museum, just outside of Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, highlights the journey of the American infantryman, from past to present. According to the museum's website, it hosts a collection of more than 70,000 artifacts that date back as far as 240 years. The museum offers an array of monuments, interactive kiosks, and relics featured in 13 exhibits including the Eras of Infantry, the Vietnam Memorial Plaza, Armor and Calvary Gallery, and the Hall of Valor.
Lara Warren, the museum's director of education and volunteer services, said, "the museum is most unique in how we tell the Soldier's story. We tell not only the story of the infantry Soldier, but that of the American Soldier."
Warren said that, in addition to exhibits, the museum hosts a giant screen theater where visitors can watch documentaries and Hollywood films. A list of show times and ticket pricing can be found on the museum's webpage.
Tours are self-guided and it's recommended that visitors dedicate at least three hours for touring. A list of one hour, half day and full day itineraries can be found on the museum's webpage.
"There are a lot of facets to the museum," said Warren, "it's a great place of honor."
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free of charge with a suggested $5 donation. Bags larger than 11" x 6" x 15" are not allowed inside the museum or on the museum campus.
For more information on the National Infantry Museum, visit nationalinfantrymuseum.org or call
AIR FORCE ENLISTED HERITAGE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
The Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute, commonly known as Enlisted Heritage Hall, can be found on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. According to the institute's website, its mission is to "[preserve] the rich and dramatic heritage and tradition of the USAF enlisted corps and its antecedents -- such as the Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps; Army Air Service; Army Air Corps; and Army Air Forces."
Artifacts, pictorial exhibits, written and oral documentation, art collections, audiovisuals and selected aircraft parts are featured at the museum, according to their webpage.
Bill Chivalette, museum curator, quoted in an article by the Air University Foundation, said, "Years of research and study have gone into some of our displays, and many have won the Air Force Heritage award, the highest honor that is given to facilities like ours."
The museum is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and admission is free of charge. Visitors who do not have a Department of Defense ID or are not escorted by a holder of a DOD ID must obtain a visitors pass through the Maxwell Visitor Center. The visitor center is open 7:30 a.m.- to 4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and can be contacted at 334-953-4283.
For more information on the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute, visit AFEHRI.au.af.mil or call 334-416-3202.
NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM
Located in Pensacola, Florida, the National Naval Aviation Museum is the world's largest Naval Aviation Museum. According to the museum's website, over 150 restored aircraft that represent Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation are featured. The museum hosts exhibits inside its 350,000-sq. ft. building and outside on its 37-acre grounds.
The museum offers a wide range of exhibits and displays, including the popular Blue Angels exhibit. The museum's webpage describes the Blue Angels exhibit as a "dazzling seven-story glass and steel atrium that showcases four A-4 Skyhawks in a diving diamond formation."
The museum also offers several 3D flight simulators, including the MaxFlight 360 simulator and
The Motion Based Simulator, which can accommodate up to 15 passengers and moves in six directions. Simulator ticket prices and schedules can be found on the museum's webpage.
Admission is free and the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. All visitors who do not have a DOD ID or are not escorted by a holder of a DOD ID must enter and exit Naval Air Station Pensacola via the West Gate off Blue Angel Parkway. Visitors (16 years and older) must present valid identification for entry to the air station. Backpacks and large bags are not allowed in the museum (exception for diaper bags).
For more information on the National Naval Aviation Museum, visit navalaviationmuseum.org or call 850-452-3604.