PENTAGON, Washington, D.C. -- Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh has approved a site on the North Post of Fort Belvoir, Va., for construction of the National Museum of the U.S. Army, scheduled to open in June 2015. The secretary signed the decision memo this week. Tuesday was the Army's 236th birthday.
"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," McHugh said.
"Now that a site for the Army's museum has been determined, the development of the museum's master plan can be finalized,” said Judson Bennett, executive director of the National Museum of the U.S. Army, or NMUSA, project office at Fort Belvoir.
Building of the museum will be funded privately through the Army Historical Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Army's heritage.
Initial construction will include a multi-story, main museum building with exhibit halls, theater, Veterans' Hall, food service and retail areas, administrative areas, an experiential learning center and a lobby with visitor reception area.
The Army's sister services all have a centralized museum. The Air Force Museum is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; the Navy Museum is located at the Washington Navy Yard, in Washington, D.C.; and the U.S. Marine Corps Museum is located at the Marine Base Quantico, in Prince William County, Va.
Establishment of an Army Museum can be traced to a law Congress passed in 1814 which directed the Secretary of War to bring captured flags of enemy units to the seat of the capitol for appropriate display. At that time, Congress appropriated $500 to fund the effort. However, for nearly two centuries, the Army's collection of documents and artifacts has been without a permanent home that is readily accessible to the public.