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Military Museums

Let these heroes do the talking while you visit.

Jenny Willden Sep 1, 2016

Planes spanning the history of aviation, vintage U.S. military uniforms, the personal effects of countless American soldiers and much more can be seen while visiting military museums in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Often staffed by veterans, the museums offer living history alongside the relics. Ask questions and hear the inspiring tales of survival and sacrifice straight from the mouths of those who’ve served.

Idaho

Idaho MIlitary History Museum

4692 W. Harvard St.
Boise, ID 83705
Open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
museum.mil.idaho.gov

Try out the F-4 Cockpit Simulator, see a vintage World War II trainer aircraft called a PT-23, and learn about Idahoans in the Spanish-American War at the newly remodeled Idaho Military History Museum. Exhibits feature photos, artifacts and small arms from military history spanning World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom.

You’ll also find exhibits on the Idaho Air and Army National Guard, Mountain Home Air Force Base, and the United States Marines and Navy. The recently expanded outdoor collection includes armored vehicles, an F4, an F-86A and a MiG-21.

Warhawk Air Museum

201 Municipal Drive
Nampa, ID 83687
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
warhawkairmuseum.org

War bond posters, memorabilia and meticulously restored planes fill the well-organized Warhawk Air Museum near Boise. But it’s worth looking beyond the beautiful aircraft and delving into the stories of veterans from World War II to the Vietnam War. Their uniforms, medals and prized possessions are contained in cabinets detailing their service.

If you can’t visit in person, take a realistic virtual tour on your mobile device. Also online, watch video interviews with veterans of World War II, Vietnam and Korea conducted by the museum as part of the Veterans History Project.

Utah

Fort Douglas Military Museum

32 Potter St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84113
Open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
fortdouglas.org

Located at the historic and picturesque Fort Douglas outpost, which once guarded the telegraph and mail routes, the Fort Douglas Military Museum is surrounded by original officer’s housing, a chapel and an outdoor cannon and tank park.

An impressive display of helicopters, armored vehicles, cannons and uniforms makes up the bulk of the museum. The most recent addition is the Utah Fallen Warrior Memorial, which is built around a piece of the World Trade Center’s slurry wall, to honor the lost lives of Utah soldiers as well as memorialize 9/11.

Hill Aerospace Museum

7961 Wardleigh Road
Hill AFB, UT 84056
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
aerospaceutah.org/hill-aerospace-museum/

See more than 90 military planes, missiles and aerospace vehicles at the sprawling 30-acre Hill Aerospace Museum near Ogden. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Only 20 percent of the museum’s massive collection is displayed at a time. It showcases the breadth of aviation history beginning with the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer to fighters and bombers to more modern aircraft like the B-1B. The only SR-71C Blackbird ever made, which was a long-range reconnaissance airplane that could reach speeds of more than 2,000 mph, flew just over 500 flight hours in six years before being sent to this museum.

Its Vietnam War exhibit includes a complete list of Utahns missing or killed in action, 25 Vietnam-era aircraft displays, and a full-size replica of Utahn Jay Hess’ jail cell as a POW in the Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton. Warheads, including a full-scale model of the first atomic bomb, ballistic missiles and cluster bombs are on display inside. Outside, the museum’s on-base location sometimes offers a glimpse of the Air Force’s new F-35 fighter flying overhead.

Wyoming

The Military Memorial Museum

1714 Carey Ave.
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
militarymemorialmuseum.com

The Military Memorial Museum started with a mission to procure U.S. Cavalry uniforms, saddles, firearms and sabers from the Civil War until the Cavalry’s disbandment in 1943. It has since expanded into much more.

Once the Cavalry artifacts were on display, the museum began seeking uniforms of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. The complete collection of military aviation uniforms includes those of enlisted airmen and generals from the 1912 Air Service to today’s Air Force dress blues.

Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum

3740 Jourgensen Ave.
Casper, WY 82604
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
wyomilitary.wyo.gov/veterans/museums/vets-museum

Know any veterans from Wyoming? Their stories may be featured at the unique Wyoming Veteran Memorial Museum that focuses on tributes and tales of more than 700 Wyoming veterans from the Spanish-American War to today. Even the building is part of the museum’s history story — it was once the Casper Army Air Base’s Enlisted Men’s Service Club and later became the Casper International Airport.

This free museum also houses a diverse collection of 25,000 artifacts, including photographs, weapons, uniforms and books. The best way to learn their significance is on a free, guided tour.

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