The First Division Museum is more than four walls with some interesting artifacts in it. It is a story. It is a history. It is an education. And it can be fun. Within these four walls is the 10,000 square foot Main Exhibit Hall of the museum, which tells the story of the division from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm through interactive galleries. In the 2,700 square foot Temporary Exhibit Gallery, different exhibits are rotated. In the lobby, temporary exhibits can often be found. Some tell the story of the division today; others display interesting historic artifacts that have been donated to or acquired by the museum.
But the museum extends beyond its four walls. The Tank Park just outside the museum is known throughout the Midwest for its extensive tank collection from the World War I era—including an M1917 Light Tank—to the Desert Storm era—including an M1 Abrams Tank—along with armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces.
On display periodically throughout the year on the museum’s grounds and in area parades are the museum’s historic military vehicles, ranging from a World War I Liberty Truck, to a World War II M3 Half Track, to a Vietnam War era M37 Cargo Truck. Also on the grounds for special events, visitors might find themselves face-to-face with military re-enactors displaying and explaining military equipment and tactics.
And now on our Web site, visitors will be able to learn more about the storied history of the famed 1st Division through our Online Exhibits. Come back from time-to-time to find out additional information about the history of the division as we update it with virtual exhibits we think you will find interesting.
Experience history. Experience the First Division Museum at Cantigny.
I recommend it to everyone, I must have been there at least a dozen times since childhood. If you're ever in the Chicagoland area, make a point to check it out.
__________________ ...how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.
I know San Francisco is probably the last place anyone would want to go for military history museums and forts. But SF has a rich military history.
Here's a list of forts in the San Francisco bay area that I suggest you visit if you ever find yourself in the area.
I would rather go to these locations below, than the usual tourist traps.
Fort Point (right by golden gate bridge) -
Fort Point has stood guard at the narrows of the Golden Gate for nearly 150 years. It has been called “the pride of the Pacific,” “the Gibraltar of the West Coast,” and “one of the most perfect models of masonry in America.” When construction began during the height of the California Gold Rush, Fort Point was planned as the most formidable deterrence America could offer to a naval attack on California. Although its guns never fired a shot in anger, the “Fort at Fort Point” as it was originally named has witnessed Civil War, obsolescence, earthquake, bridge construction, reuse for World War II, and preservation as a National Historic Site.
Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861 by the U.S. Army Engineers as part of a defense system of forts planned for the protection of San Francisco Bay. Designed at the height of the Gold Rush, the fort and its companion fortifications would protect the Bay’s important commercial and military installations against foreign attack. The fort was built in the Army’s traditional “Third System” style of military architecture (a standard adopted in the 1820s), and would be the only fortification of this impressive design constructed west of the Mississippi River. This fact bears testimony to the importance the military gave San Francisco and the gold fields during the 1850s.
Fort Funston (on Skyline Blvd by Ocean Beach) - took shape during World War I with the purpose of assisting in the coastal land defense of the San Francisco Bay. Home to the country’s largest collection of military installations and fortifications, dating from 1776 through the Cold War. Built in 1917, this fort became primarily a Nike missile site after its batteries were decided to be obsolete after World War II. It now serves as a popular site for hang gliding.
Fort Mason (in the Marina off of Bay St and Laguna St) - Fort Mason, located on a hilltop promontory, was an excellent location for harbor defenses because the promontory commanded not only the cove, but the passage between the mainland and Alcatraz. Over the past 200 years, it has been fortified by the Spanish, the Mexican and the United States military. During the Spanish and Mexican periods, the governments recognized it as an ideal spot to fortify; in 1797, the Spanish built the Bateria de Yerba Buena, equipped with five eight-pounder cannons. After the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846, the United States took control of California, and three years later, gold was discovered in California. In a very short period of time, San Francisco had evolved from a sleepy port town into a very rich and profitable city; a city within a state that the U.S. government now had great interest in protecting. Every day, American ships laded with gold were passing through the Golden Gate straits on their way around Cape Horn and finally onto Washington, DC., where the money would be deposited into federal banks. The government needed to guarantee the safety of these ships to ensure that the money reached its final destination. In an effort to protect what was now theirs, in 1851 the U.S. Army established this overlook area as a United States military reservation, designating it Point San Jose.
Fort Baker (on the border of Sausalito and Marin County) - was designated as the Mine Control Headquarters during World War II. Fort Baker, the ninth and final "Post-to-Park" conversion in the Golden Gate National Parks, is a 335 acre former 1905 U.S. Army post located immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This hidden gem of a site consists of over 25 historic army buildings clustered around a main parade ground, a sheltered harbor protected by a jetty, a number of historic gun emplacements, and trails and forested areas climbing gently up from San Francisco Bay.
Fort Baker is a historic army post located in the Marin Headlands. The post, built between 1902 and 1910, is one of the park’s best examples of the army’s “Endicott Period” military construction, named after the late 19th century Secretary of War, William C. Endicott. The “Endicott Period” refers to the peace time years, between 1865 (the end of the Civil War) and 1898 (prior to the Spanish-American War), when the army had the time to look inward and make improvements to many of its existing military systems.
By the 1860s, many of the Army’s “modern” defense systems had become outdated and the War Department expressed growing concerns about the dilapidated condition of the country’s seacoast fortifications. As a response, in the 1890s, the War Department made sweeping recommendations for all existing U.S. seaports and proposals to modernize and re-arm all the seacoast forts. In addition to improving its seacoast defenses, the Army now turned its energy toward improving the living conditions of enlisted soldiers, in order to stem desertion, boost moral and attract a better class of recruits.
Fort Barry (in Sausalito) - Fort Barry, constructed in 1908 in the Marin Headlands, is one of the park’s best examples of an “Endicott Period” army post. The Endicott Period, named for Secretary of War William C. Endicott, refers to the era when the War Department expressed growing concerns about the dilapidated condition of the country’s seacoast fortifications. As a response, the army made sweeping recommendations in the 1890s to modernize and re-arm all the U.S. seacoast forts. In 1902, the army constructed new seacoast fortifications at Fort Baker, just inside the Golden Gate strait. By 1908, the army recognized the need for additional defenses, outside the Golden Gate strait, and constructed Fort Barry and its batteries for this purpose.
Fort Cronkhite (in Sausalito) - became the first commando combat school in the Western Defense Command during World War II. Located in the Marin Headlands, Fort Cronkhite is a former World War II military post that stands at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.Fort Cronkhite today is one of the few preserved examples of these World War II "mobilization posts" remaining in the country. The fort's barracks, mess halls, supply buildings, and other structures are preserved to tell the story of the soldiers who waited here for an enemy that never came.
Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island (off of I-80) - during world war II Treasure Island became part of the Treasure Island Naval Base, although the old military housing is now open to the public, many buildings abandoned by the Navy remain on the island today.
Yerba Buena's history dates further back than that of Treasure Island. it was used during the civil war and then again during world war II. if you visit the island you will find the quarters which housed the military commanders and USGS barracks, radio and radar stations scattered throughout.
Note: The Navy handed Treasure Island back over to the city of San Francisco a couple of years ago, they may have torn down all the history there.
Not sure...I haven't visited the island since the Navy handover.
Fort Point - under the Golden Gate Bridge. From its vantage point overlooking the spectacular Golden Gate, Fort Point protected San Francisco harbor from Confederate & foreign attack during & after the U.S. Civil War. Its beautifully arched casemates display the art of the master brick mason from the Civil War period.
Nike Missile Site - on Angel Island. During the tense years from 1953 to 1979, the United States Army built and operated a total of 280 Nike missile firing batteries in the United States. These missile sites were emplaced as the last line of defense against Soviet bombers. Today, a dedicated group of volunteers works in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the continuous task of restoration at site SF-88, which has been turned into a museum. This valuable historical resource is the only restored Nike missile site in the entire country. It's a great chance for you to see the tools of the Cold War up close.
Fort Miley - Overlooking Land's End, most of the original Army buildings were demolished in 1934 to allow construction of the Fort Miley Veterans Administration Hospital. The sole surviving army building, an ordnance storehouse, is now a maintenance building for the National Park Service. The remains of several pre-World War I batteries edge the perimeter of the hospital. West Fort Miley offers visitors a grassy picnic area situated among three gun emplacements, including Battery Chester (1903-1943), which offers a spectacular view down Ocean Beach. At Point Lobos, two original shell-damaged sections of the USS San Francisco flank a granite monument commemorating those who perished at Guadalcanal on November 12-13, 1942.
Presidio of San Francisco - The Presidio has a rich cultural history spanning back to the time of the native Ohlone people. The Spanish arrived in 1776 to establish the northernmost outpost of their empire in western North America. The Presidio then fell under Mexican rule for 24 years before the U.S. Army took control of it in 1846. Over 148 years, the U.S. Army transformed the Presidio grounds from mostly empty windswept dunes and scrub to a verdant, preeminent military post. Since 1994, the Presidio has been a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Did you know...
While stationed at the Presidio, the U.S. Army adopted the Coat of Arms of Royal Spain for heraldry purposes. The seal appeared on vehicles, signs, and badges throughout the post.
Here's a couple of links for additional information and other sites as well.
Here's another good place to visit. This one is about 40+ miles south of San Francisco.
Moffett Field Historical Society
Welcome to the web site of the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum at Moffett Field in the heart of Silicon Valley. If you are interested in history ... especially the history of the San Francisco Bay Area and in the important role it has played in aviation and our national defense, our Museum will fascinate, educate, and capture your imagination.
Our crew of dedicated volunteers, many of whom have been part of the history that we present, have put together a unique and engaging collection that provides a truly memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
There is much to enjoy at our museum. Our historic displays will take you through Moffett Field over the years, beginning with building the world-famous hangars and on to the lighter than air era, the World War II period, use by both the Army and Navy, the Cold War period, NASA Ames, and the modern uses associated with jets and spacecraft There is hands-on fun for the kids, who can ‘fly’ a P-3 Orion, sit in VTOL Harrier cockpit, ‘fly’ a flight simulator, and see famous aircraft like the U-2 up close. They will also enjoy a very elaborate model train set up. Our Docent tours provide historic insights ... from the beginnings of Moffett Field in the early 30s to the loss of the Macon to the U-2 and more ... from experts. Our Library is a great resource for those interested in local and/or military history. The Museum Gift Shop has a wonderful selection of gifts and souvenirs, including toys, books, models, and many unique items so you can take home some memories of your visit.
Moffett Field has a storied and important history, — a history that includes major contributions to our natiional security and the advancement of science and technology. Beginning in 1931, Moffett Field has grown as a facility with evolving roles to meet the needs of the respective eras since then. As an introduction and overview, section provides a short history of Moffett Field together with in-depth look at each of the eras that has defined its history:
* The Macon era
* The Army era
* The WWII era
* The Post War era
* Moffett Field today
As the United States became concerned about the security of its lengthy coastlines, dirigibles (rigid, powered blimps) became an essential component of the Navy Department starting in the 1920s. Blimps were more effective than balloons: occupants were able to observe large areas of land and sea for longer periods; the craft were more maneuverable; and ascent and descent could be more dependently controlled. More commonly known as Moffett Field, the U.S. Naval Air Station Sunnyvale, California, Historic District consists of a large number of buildings that were constructed from the 1930s on. By far the most famous and visible of these are Hangars Number One, Two and Three, which dwarf the surrounding buildings, standing as testament to the engineering skills of their builders.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hangar Number One was constructed in 1933 to house the Navy dirigible USS Macon. During the brief period that the USS Macon was based at Moffett from October 1933 until it was lost at sea in February 1935, Hangar Number One not only accommodated the giant airship but several smaller non-rigid LTA craft simultaneously. The hangar is 1,133 feet long and 308 feet wide, constructed on an amazing network of steel girders sheathed with galvanized steel, and the floor covers eight acres and can accommodate 10 football fields. Unique and spectacular are the "orange peel" doors, weighing 500 tons each. The style of the other buildings on the base is largely Spanish Colonial Revival, mostly built in the 1930s, with some International style buildings constructed in the 1940s and later. After the Macon crashed in 1935, the base was turned over to the Army Air Corps for use as a training center.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Navy regained control of the station as the West Coast headquarters for coastal patrol blimps. Throughout the war, Navy blimps could be seen hovering over the Golden Gate patrolling for submarines and mines. In 1943, Hangar Number Two and Hangar Number Three were constructed to keep pace with the Navy's increasing demand for space. Once again, however, the Lighter-Than-Air program at Moffett Field would be fleeting. A shift to Heavier-Than-Air technology in 1942 marked the beginning of the end, with the blimp program completely phased out by 1946.
Decommissioned in 1994 and transferred to NASA, Moffett Field is now part of the NASA Ames Research Center. Plans are underway to integrate Moffett Field and the adjoining Ames Research Center campus into a shared-use research, development and educational resource in collaboration with government, industry and academia. Even today, Hangar One dominates the landscape, towering over an impressive array of 1930s-era Spanish Colonial Revival military buildings. The hangar was closed to the public in 2003 after the discovery of toxic contaminants. At the Moffett Field Museum, visitors can explore rooms of memorabilia, artifacts and models from its days as the hub of West Coast blimp training and operations.
[photo] Historic views of Hangar One and the USS Macon
Historic photo courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, CA; historic postcard courtesy of Stanley A. Piltz, San Francisco, CA
Naval Air Station Sunnyvale is located near Mountain View and Sunnyvale, 35 miles south of San Francisco. From Hwy. 101 use the Moffett Field exit. The Moffett Field Museum has been located in Hangar One for several years, but is currently closed due to potential toxic chemicals in the hangar. For further information, visit the museum's website or call 650-603-9827.
Patton armor and cavalry museum at fort knox, goergia, was excellant and had very many tanks both friegn and dmoestic plus it had the MBT-70 and XM1.
"When you're wounded an' left on Afghanistan's plains.
An' the women come out to cut up your remains,
Just roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains,
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier."
- Rudyard Kipling
This is a private tank museum located in Portola Valley, CA. It is located several miles from Moffet Field.
The MVTF have an amazing collection of vehicles spanning almost 100 years of mechanized warfare. Guides are very knowledgeable about the general history of military vehicles, their use in warfare, and about the specific vehicles in the collection and what was important about them.
Here is a great review that was written up about this place.
I'm talking about the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, a.k.a. the Tank Museum, the largest private collection of tanks, trucks, and other significant combat vehicles (including a Scud-B missile and launcher!) in the world. We military buffs are very lucky that this collection of over 300 vehicles is located right here in the South Bay.
First, a little background: museum owner Jacques Littlefield's family is the largest shareholder of General Electric stock, and Mr. Littlefield's own interests extend to mechanical engineering and history. Lucky for us, Mr. Littlefield combined his interests in combat vehicles with the family fortune to build this great museum and fund the ongoing research, acquisition, and restoration of military vehicles.
Set in the rolling hills of Portola Valley on the west side of Highway 280, the Tank Museum is composed of four large, and I mean tank-sized, buildings where the collection is stored, along with the restoration workshops. I didn't have a tape measure on my visit, but I'd estimate each building is at least 2 tanks deep and about 30 tanks wide (a new unit of measurement, haha). The pictures above should give you a sense of the scale.
This being a private collection, the vehicles are displayed in a somewhat haphazard fashion, with a WW II German Panzer V (aka Panther) next to a Cold War-era Soviet BMP-1 armored personnel carrier. That's probably the only improvement I would make to the collection, to put the vehicles in the four buildings in a somewhat more logical fashion, such as by historical periods.
But otherwise, what a treasure-trove of armored and non-armored fighting vehicles of every description and size, all in very, very good condition. The tanks themselves ranged from a tiny WW I French FT-17 to a huge Cold War era British Chieftain outfitted with a mine-clearing blade and a sleek Soviet T-72 (it's amazing how small and low that Soviet main battle tank was compared to its British and US counterparts!)
The non-tank part of the collection is also a delight, ranging from a tiny WW2 German BMW motorcycle and sidecar (mounted with a MG-34 machine gun, mind you) to an enormous modern-day US Long Tracked Radar Vehicle mounted on an M-60 chassis and whose radar dish reached over 40 feet up to the ceiling of the huge museum building. There are also interesting artillery pieces, from quad-50 cal anti-aircraft half-track from the US side of WW2, to the famous German 88 mm anti-aircraft / anti-tank gun and the infamous Nebelwerfer 15 cm rocket mortar also from WW2.
And then there was my favorite: the gigantic Scud-B missile launcher complete with a disarmed Scud-B missile on top! The docent said it's the only Scud missile in a private collection in the world today. There was also a nice collection of tank-related ammunition, from a modern-day APFSDS depleted uranium tank round, to an RPG-7 shoulder-held grenade launcher that we got to play with.
I could go on and on about all the great items in the collection, but you can go to the website above to see for yourself, or better yet, make an appointment for a tour of the museum!
That's the only way to see this museum. Being a private collection, tours have to be arranged months in advance, but they are held twice on most Saturdays, and the group coming up after us was the local Hells Angel tour so everyone is welcomed. To arrange for a tour, you can contact the Foundation at the above website.
"Stand for the flag ~ Kneel for the fallen"
"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." ~ Bruce Lee
"The Frost is strong in that Snowflake" ~ Reimnitz
that is a sweet looking musuem whats the charge for admitance.
"When you're wounded an' left on Afghanistan's plains.
An' the women come out to cut up your remains,
Just roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains,
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier."
- Rudyard Kipling
They call it a donation... Which qualifies the fee as tax deductible.
Be sure to ask for a receipt if you plan on doing it. It's worth it if you plan on going in a large group.
It's a 2.5-3hr tour, depending on how slow or fast everyone walks along.
The MVTF is no longer a "private" museum. Due to our staffing and location, we still do require appointments for tours. However, they no longer need to be made months in advance. If you are an individual or have just a couple of people, you can usually be scheduled pretty quickly. Please visit our website as listed above and click on the "tours" tab to get the tour reservation process started.
Chris "toadman" Hughes
Volunteer docent and offsite events coordinator, Military Vehicle Technology Foundation
The Planes of Fame Air Museum, founded in 1957 by Edward Maloney, is where aviation history lives. It is the oldest independently operated aviation museum in the United States. The museum collection spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the space age Apollo Capsule. The mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum sponsors regular events in the form of inspirational experiences, educational presentations, flight demonstrations, and air shows in fulfillment of this mission. Visit the Planes of Fame Air Museum website. The Chino location on Calero Drive off Merrill Ave., Chino, CA 91710. (909) 597-3722
A brief video tour of the Planes of Fame Air Museum's main facilities in Chino, California. Planes of Fame is the oldest and largest privately held Air Museum in America today. Our collection includes over 150 aircraft, approximately 40 of which are in flyable condition. A select number of our rare and unique aircraft are flown annually at various events. Our collection also features many militaria items and historical aviation artifacts.
For the best experience, visit us in person.
Or visit us online at;