The Top 22 Military Museums
America is home to the finest military museums in the entire world, and are devoted to preserving the memory of armed conflicts and the proud Americans who fought in them. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our military community with unique and authentic experiences that can bring history to life. Here is a list of the top twenty military museums in the entire country.
Our Military Travel would to give a thanks to all of the museums staff, and special recognition to the loyal volunteers, who give their time and efforts to make your experience more enjoyable.
In the heart of New Orleans, the National WWII Museum, formerly known as the D-Day Museum, is one of the finest museums in the world. Dedicated to telling the story of America’s contributions to the Allied war efforts in the defining conflict of the 20th century, the museum houses the most comprehensive display of informative memorabilia about WWII in America.
There are a number of outstanding exhibits, including the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion’s Union Pacific Train Station, where you can experience the emotions felt by the young men being sent off to war, and the Arsenal of Democracy, all about America’s industrial contributions to the war effort. The National WWII Museum has been consistently ranked in global lists of the best museums and is one of the best in America.
- Location: 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
- Contact the Museum: (504) 528-1944
- Contact the Museum Store: 504-528-1944 Ext 244
- The Restaurant: BB’s Stage Door Canteen
America’s official WWI museum is located right in the middle of the country. The museum’s many exhibitions include over 100,000 unique WWI items and documents, which tell a comprehensive tale of the entire progression of the war. You can walk through life-sized trenches to get a feel for the conditions soldiers lived in, and through the simulated ruins of a French town devastated by the fighting.
- Location: 2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64108
- Contact the Museum: (816) 888-8100
- Contact the Museum Store: (816) 888-8126
- The Restaurant: Over There Cafe
The largest naval aviation museum in the world is the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. The museum is home to over 150 fully restored Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard aircraft, from every era of American aviation. The aircraft are everywhere, inside the 350,000 square foot facility, and outside on the 37-acre property. Best of all, admission is completely free.
- Location: 1750 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508
- Contact the Museum: (850) 452-3604
- Contact the Museum Store: (800) 247-6289
- The Restaurant: Cubi Bar Cafe
Georgia’s National Infantry Museum spans the entire history of the American military, with exhibits about soldiers from every conflict America has ever been involved in, with thousands of significant artifacts from each.
The museums signature exhibit is the Last 100 Yards Ramp, a shallow ramp depicting dioramas of significant battles throughout American history, bringing you from the distant past up into the modern day. Follow in the footsteps of heroes throughout history. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is recommended.
- Location: 1775 Legacy Way, Columbus, GA 31903
- Contact the Museum: (706) 685-5800
- Contact the Museum Store: (970) 568-4550
Dayton, Ohio’s National Museum of the Air Force, America’s official Air Force museum, is extremely modern. The museum displays exhibits from the past hundred years, but also exhibits that focus on the future.
In the museum, you can learn about the American military’s involvement with space technology and exploration. You can also put yourself in the cockpit in state of the art flight simulators. The museum is found on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on the outskirts of Dayton.
- Location: 1100 Spaatz St, Dayton, OH 45431
- Contact the Museum: (937) 255-3286
- Contact the Museum Store: (937) 256-6245
- The Restaurants: Valkyrie Cafe and Refueling Cafe
Founded in 1982, this military and maritime museum has a collection of museum history and ships. The museum is located at Pier 86 on 46th Street on the West Side. Interesting collection of ships include the famous USS Intrepid, the submarine USS Growler, Lockheed A-12 supersonic reconnaissance plane, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
- Location: Pier 86, W 46th Street & 12th Ave, New York, NY 10036-4103
- Contact the Museum: (212) 245-0072
This museum was formally known as the US Air Force Museum and is the official museum of the US Air Force. Located in Dayton Ohio, at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it has one of the largest collections of aircraft and missiles. A multitude of interesting exhibits include: Early years, WWII, Korean War, Southeast Asia, Cold War, flight simulators, and several other exhibits.
- Location: 1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
- Contact the Museum: (937) 956-6245 or (937) 255-3286
Though there are many WWII museums, including the National WWII Museum mentioned at the beginning of this article, not many of them focus on the Pacific theatre. For a comprehensive look at the eastern reaches of the most important conflict in a century, the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, is America’s pre-eminent.
Not just one building, but three, the museum is a sprawling complex with a great number of exhibits about the conflicts all around the Pacific, including the Pacific Combat Zone, a unique exhibit, both indoors and outside, with restored WWII vehicles and weaponry, to simulate the experiences of those who fought.
- Location: 340 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
- Contact the Museum: (830) 997-8600
The last of the sanctioned National Museums on this list is the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Right next to the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Triangle, Virginia, the museum is dedicated to telling the entire story of the Marine Corps. To that aim, they are in construction of the final phase of the Legacy Walk, the last leg in an in-depth exhibit the telling the whole story of the Marine Corps, from colonial times to the war on terror.
- Location: 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Triangle, VA 22172
- Contact the Museum: (703) 432-1775
- Contact the Museum Store: (888) 315-1775
- The Restaurants: Devil Dog Diner and Tun Tavern
On the Charleston harbor, at the mouth of the Cooper River, is the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, home to three different museum ships. The biggest is the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier with 28 different naval aircraft on board, along with the Medal of Honor Museum.
You can also tour the USS Laffey, the most decorated destroyer commissioned during WWII still in existence, or the USS Clagamore, the America’s only Guppy III submarine. There is also the Vietnam Experience Exhibit, where you can see what life was like for soldiers during the war.
- Location: 40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
- Contact the Museum: (843) 884-2727
The museum at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is a two-story building focused on teaching visitors about the early days of the Navy. Gain a real understanding of naval warfare with exhibits detailing significant naval battles in America’s history.
The museum is also home to the Rogers Ship Model Collection, the largest collection of model ships from the 17th and 18th century in North America. The museum at the Naval Academy is free to enter as well.
- Location: 118 Maryland Ave, Annapolis, MD 21402
- Contact the Museum: (410) 293-2108
The Battleship North Carolina was the first of ten such battleships to be constructed by America for the WWII effort. At the time of the battleship’s commission, it was the single deadliest naval weapon in existence. The decommissioned North Carolina is now, fittingly, in Wilmington, North Carolina, an open museum for visitors to board. The battleship has events and programs offered year round, so any time is a good time to visit.
- Location: 1 Battleship Rd NE, Wilmington, NC 28401
- Contact the Museum: (910) 399-9100
- Contact the Museum Store: (910) 399-9160
The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia houses one of the largest collections of aircraft from the two World Wars. Each and every plane has been restored to the best ability possible, often using original parts. Most of the planes can even fly and participate in regular airshows. Find classic aircraft of nearly every style imaginable here.
- Location: 1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457
- Contact the Museum: (757) 721-7767
Fort Ticonderoga, along the southern shore of Lake Champlain, was once Fort Carillon and was actually built by the French in the mid-18th century before it belonged to America. Now, the entire fort is a military museum. The fort has stood strong through two wars and five pitched battles and you can experience all of that history firsthand. There are dozens of daily programs around the fort, along with reenactments of the battles on certain anniversaries.
- Location: 102 Fort Ti Rd, Ticonderoga, NY 12883
- Contact the Museum: (518) 585-2821
At the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn in Garryowen, Montana, there now stands the Custer Battlefield Museum. The museum has a great deal of artifacts from the battle and guides visitors through the battle itself.
Moreover, the museum is host to a great deal of history from the region, including a large number of genuine Native American pieces, and the David F Barry collection, one of the largest collections of early photography. On June 25, the battlefield museum hosts a reenactment of the battle.
- Location: Exit 514 I-90, Garryowen, MT 59031
- Contact the Museum: (406) 638-2000
- Contact the Museum Store: (406) 638-1876
Another museum host to yearly reenactments is the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum. Those aren’t the only events held, though; the Park Museum consistently holds various programs consistently throughout the year.
Learn about the history of America’s bloodiest battle and pay homage to the tragedies of our past through the museum’s historical exhibits. Arrive on July 4th for a unique celebration of America’s history, along with a remembrance of the fallen.
- Location: 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325
- Contact the Museum: (717) 334-1124
- Contact the Museum Store: (717) 338-1243
Dedicated to telling the stories that go beyond the normal military scope, there is the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The main gallery is a tour of all of the most amazing special operations that American troops have undertaken since 1940, or at least, the ones that are unclassified.
- Location: 100 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville, NC 28301
- Contact the Museum: (910) 643-2778
- Contact the Museum Store: (910) 643-2776
In contrast to the previous large collections of aircraft on this list, the US Army Aviation Museum has a particular focus on helicopters and other vertical-takeoff aircraft. That doesn’t mean they don’t have planes, too; all told, they have over 160 different aircraft from throughout America’s history, although generally about 50 are on display at any one time. The museum is found on the base at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
- Location: 6000 Novosel St, Fort Rucker, AL 36362
- Contact the Museum: (334) 598-2508
The First Division of the US Army is the longest continuously serving division in the whole American military. The First Division Museum at Cantigny is dedicated to the history of that division, following them from their formation in 1917, through their involvement in every American war since.
Exhibits focus on how the manner of fighting has changed throughout that time, and shows how the division has changed and adapted through time. Visit at the museum any day between Tuesday and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.
- Location: 1s151 Winfield Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189
- Contact the Museum: (630) 260-8185F
- Contact the Museum Store: (630) 260-8130
Another ship that has been turned into a museum, the USS Bowfin in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a fascinating look into how those who fought aboard in WWII lived. Aside from the complete tour of the submarine itself, there is a separate submarine museum, which houses artifacts from the Bowfin’s history, including the Poseidon C-3 missile, with all of its parts intact. Keep in mind that the last tours of the Bowfin are at 4:30 pm.
- Location: 11 Arizona Memorial Dr, Honolulu, HI 96818
- Contact the Museum: (808) 423-1341
The museum focuses on Hawaii’s crucial part in the Pacific Theatre of WWII, with no small focus on the tragic events of Pearl Harbor. The exhibits go back further than simply WWII, however, and you can learn about how the native Hawaiians waged battle before anyone else arrived.
- Location: 2161 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
- Contact the Museum: (808) 955-9552
This unique museum is dedicated to contributions of the African-American military pilots (fighters & bombers) known as the Tuskegee Airmen who proudly fought in WWII. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the US Army Air Forces. The name also honors the bombardiers, navigators, mechanics, crew chiefs, instructors, nurses, cooks and other support staff.
- Location: 6325 West Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
- Contact the Museum: email@example.com