Army Museum Opens at Fort Belvoir

Army Museum Opens at Fort Belvoir

Virtual opening paves the way for socially-distanced visits, but tickets are required.

The new Army museum at Fort Belvoir is packed with equipment and information about the Army.

The new Army museum at Fort Belvoir is packed with equipment and information about the Army.

The rain and clouds on Veteran’s Day, and the overcast of the pandemic, provided a solemn backdrop for the opening of the National Museum of


Photo contributed

Lots of action-like exhibits with real equipment the Army has held on to for years.

the United States Army in Fort Belvoir. This museum is the first to tell the entire history of the nation's oldest military service, immersing visitors in the story of the U.S. Army through galleries, moving exhibits, a multisensory 300-degree theater, rooftop garden, and hundreds of historic treasures rarely or never-before-seen by the public eye.

“It showcases the history and traditions of the Army through the eyes of the American soldier,” the museum narrator said. The purpose is to commemorate and educate.

Although the opening ceremony was limited due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, the ceremony was virtual with participation from The Honorable Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army; Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen. James C. McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army.


The state-of-the-art facility has a space for ceremonies too.

The museum features a grand lobby that will be the site of many ceremonies in the future. Once inside the museum space, there are three parts – Soldiers Stories; Fighting for the Nation; and the Army and Society. There’s a section called the “Medal of Honor Experience,” that has recordings of soldier’s accounts and descriptions of actions that earned the nation’s high award.

In addition, the museum has a learning center full of modern, high tech devices that acts as an “immersive learning space,” the Army said. Then there’s a theater with a 360-degree screen, showing the Army film called “Noble Deeds,” most of the time, but it can show other films as well.

The U.S. Army has been collecting artifacts since 1814 when Congress passed a legislation directed at the Secretary of War, ordering that artifacts from the Army’s actions be collected for learning and display purposes. Items on display include uniforms, a combat helmet from World War I, guns, tanks and helicopters, each with a description of how it was used to defend the nation.

The original plans had the museum opening on June 4, 2020, but the decision to postpone the opening was made in mid-April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the summer, a skeleton crew was on-site part of the time doing finishing work, and raising the flag in the morning. The Museum is now scheduled to be open every day except Dec. 25.

Free, timed-entry tickets are required and are available by request through the Museum's website at Due to high demand, the Foundation encourages individuals to wait for their ticket confirmation before making travel plans.

The location of the museum is outside the main base, on a section of the Backlick Road that intersects with Richmond Highway. It is right across from Davison Airfield, an Army facility for helicopters and small airplanes.

To ensure visitors' safety from Covid, the Museum is preparing to follow Commonwealth, federal, and U.S. Army health guidelines. The Museum will promote social distancing by limiting the number of visitors in the building, offer 'grab and go' refreshments in the café, modify some of the interactive exhibits, and enhance cleaning procedures.

The Museum's construction was supported, in part, by the Army Historical Foundation's Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. Nearly 200,000 veterans, Army families, and grateful Americans have raised more than $183 million towards the $200 million campaign goal. The Foundation will continue the campaign as the Museum opens to the public. Those interested in supporting the campaign can visit