5 military museums you can’t miss visiting this season

We officially celebrate our military veterans on Veterans Day Nov. 11, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate them all month long — or all year long. A great way to do that is by visiting the many military museums that pay homage to all branches of the military and their former and current members. Here are five not-to-miss military museums to get you started.

The National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Ga., is the site of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial that opened in October of 2017. (CONTRIBUTED BY NATIONAL INFANTRY MUSEUM)

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National Infantry Museum

About an hour and a half southwest of Atlanta in Columbus, the National Infantry Museum honors the journey of the American infantryman with artifacts, interactive exhibits, and much more in six galleries grouped by chronological order. However, before that, visitors enter the museum through the “Last 100 Yards Ramp,” an immersive and informative exhibit that sets the stage for the museum. “This facility serves to educate, honor, and preserve the legacy of the oldest branch of the United States Armed Forces,” said Peter Bowden, President & CEO of Visit Columbus, GA.


FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2013 file photo, Tom Czekanski, senior curator and restoration manager at the National World War II Museum, stands in front of one of the surviving World War II-era PT boats as it undergoes restoration in New Orleans. The PT-305, a U.S. Navy patrol torpedo boat that sank three vessels and saw action in Europe, is back in New Orleans where it was built and tested - what historians describe as the nation's only fully restored ship of that type that saw direct combat in World War II.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Credit: Gerald Herbert

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Credit: Gerald Herbert

The National WWII Museum

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the American experience in World War II, including why it was fought, the various campaigns, how the war was won, and what that victory means today. Exhibits include video, audio, and written components to tell the stories of all those involved in the war: American leaders, soldiers, and the families at home. Six different buildings make up the museum, so you’ll need to plan plenty of time to visit them all.


National Veterans Memorial and Museum

In that other Columbus in Ohio, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum honors veterans from all branches of service through interactive and video exhibits, informative signage, and much more. “Everyone knows a veteran whether you realize it or not, and, at the museum, we share veteran stories in their own voices to inspire our guests in person and online to be of service in their communities,” said retired Lt. General Michael Ferriter, Army, founding president and CEO of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. Two notable spots at the museum are the Remembrance Gallery on the mezzanine level and the Memorial Garden behind the museum. Both provide opportunities for remembrance and reflection of those who have served.


THE A-4 SKYHAWKS once used by the Blue Angels flight team are on display there, in the Blues' famous diamond formation. The flight team has a home at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Credit: National Museum of Naval Aviation

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Credit: National Museum of Naval Aviation

National Naval Aviation Museum

On the grounds of Naval Air Station Pensacola in Pensacola, Fla., the National Naval Aviation Museum explores and documents the history of aviation of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Throughout the two buildings that comprise the museum, visitors can enjoy flight simulators, and see more than 4,000 artifacts and more than 150 restored aircraft, including those of the Blue Angels. In fact, if you plan your visit right, you can catch the Blue Angels as they practice their routines in the skies overhead.


U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum

The U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, N.C., documents the history and members of these elite groups whose members jump from the sky and into battle. Exhibits start with 1940s history and carry on through today’s military actions. Artifacts, videos, and informative signs and displays showcase the training, equipment, and missions these soldiers embarked on in the fight for freedom.