Virginia War Museum
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|Former name||American Legion Memorial Museum of Virginia,
War Memorial Museum of Virginia
|Location||9285 Warwick Boulevard
Newport News, Virginia
|Website||Virginia War Museum|
The Virginia War Museum was founded in 1923 by the Braxton-Perkins Post #25 of the American Legion as the American Legion Memorial Museum of Virginia. The City of Newport News assumed overall administration of the museum in the 1950s, and it was known as the War Memorial Museum of Virginia. In 1987, the Virginia War Museum Foundation was established by the Newport News City Council and the museum adopted its current name.
The museum's collection includes weapons, vehicles, tanks, cannons, uniforms, personal effects, and propaganda posters from various periods of American history. The museum is arranged so that tours will guide visitors through the museum chronologically, beginning with the American Revolutionary War, to the American Civil War, through the Philippine–American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, The 1980s, and War in Afghanistan (2001–14). It also includes a special collection of uniforms and weaponry used by African American service members throughout Military history of the United States. A majority of its collection is centered on the Second World War, due to the site's origins as an active American Legion Post near the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation.
Highlights of the museum's collection include a section of the Berlin Wall and the outer wall from Dachau Concentration Camp. The museum also contains a research library with archives dating back prior to the American Civil War, with many original copies. The museum boasts a handwritten order by General George Washington, issued during the campaign following the Battle of Brooklyn and the subsequent retreat across Westchester County. Uniforms and other items worn by a number of prominent American generals, including Mark Clark, James Doolittle, and Colin Powell, are on display.
The museum keeps an archaeological research staff which is responsible for conducting on-site research. This provides the museum with a supply of artifacts dating back to the Jamestown Settlement period of Virginia history.
Archiving and Research
The museum has, since 2012, updated its library to the Library of Congress Classification to provide researchers access to its materials. In addition, the staff works to assess and re-assess historical documents and artifacts that are donated to the museum, in order to contribute to Military history of the United States as a whole, as well as to provide locals access to their own history, as the museum archives donations from many local benefactors.
Apart from the library, the museum's historical staff and volunteers work to archive artifacts donated to the museum. The museum houses uniforms, firearms, bladed weapons, artillery pieces, ammunition, and personal effects. The artifacts range greatly in age and origin, and are housed for historical research and to protect them for posterity.
- Virginia War Museum. "Virginia War Museum" brochure, Winter 2007.
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