U.S. ARMY HERITAGE AND EDUCATION CENTER TO PARTICIPATE IN BLUE STAR MUSEUMS
Today, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) announced the launch of Blue Star Museums.Read more...
Army Heritage Center Foundation to Host Army Birthday Commemoration Dinner
The Army Heritage Center Foundation will host a
"Telling the Army Story . . . one Soldier at a time."
The United States Army Heritage and Education Center’s (USAHEC) mission is to preserve United States Army heritage and to educate the Army and the Nation on the role of the Soldier in the development of the Nation. The USAHEC’s vision is to become an internationally recognized center of excellence for the preservation and interpretation of US Army heritage.
The USAHEC, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is the Army's primary historical repository and research facility. Secretary of the Army Thomas White established the center in 2001. A component of the U.S. Army War College, and a major component of the U.S. Army Historical Program, the USAHEC staff is tasked to acquire, preserve, and make publicly available Army-related library and archival materials and to develop interpretive exhibits and educational outreach programs to foster a greater understanding of the Army's and the Soldiers’ central role in the growth, development and protection of the nation and its way of life.
The Current Campus
Ridgway Hall, on the campus of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
When fully developed, the Center will include five components:
Ridgeway Hall, the Visitor and Education Center and the Army Heritage Trail are open to the public. Closed to the public is an artifact storage facility and the Conservation Center.
Ridgway Hall, home of the US Army Military History Institute, opened to the public in September 2004. The Institute’s research library holds over 11 million items (books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, military publications) on U.S. Army history, including the largest American Civil War photograph collection in the world. The general public may access the collection in the reading room. The staff in Ridgway Hall oversees the acquisition and conservation of all USAHEC holdings, the cataloging of books and other manuscript items, the processing of archival collections, the transcription of oral histories, the writing of research bibliographies and other finding aids. Ridgway Hall also contains several small exhibit areas that display artifacts and photographs from USAHEC holdings. Currently, a photo exhibit commemorating the 150th annivesary of the American Civil War and an exibit honoring America's Last Five Star General - General of the Army Omar N. Bradley are on display on the second floor of Ridgway Hall.
Phase One of the Visitor and Education Center (VEC) opened to the public in May 2011. The VEC serves as the main entrance for all visitors to USAHEC campus. The facility contains a 7,000 square feet exhibit and interpretive gallery, two multipurpose rooms, a cafe, museum shop, and other facilities for hosting large groups and providing educational programming. The Army Heritage Center Foundation raised the funds for the construction of the Visitor and Education Center with significant support coming from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The exhibit gallery currently is presenting "The Soldier Experience", an interactive exhibit that features items from the USAHEC Collection from the Spanish American War era to current operations.
The Army Heritage Trail is a one-mile (1.6 km) walking path of outdoor exhibits and markers on various eras in U.S. Army history. Notable exhibits include a replica American Revolutionary War redoubt from the 1781 Siege of Yorktown, cabins built to resemble those of French and Indian War and American Civil War encampments, several replica camp buildings from World War II, a Vietnam Firebase, and a section of trenches from World War I, with shell hole-marked no-man's land, and a corresponding German pillbox. The trail is open to the public year-round during daylight hours. The trail hosts a few large living history events during the year. Re-enactors also spend time on the trail on most weekends.
The artifact storage facility and the consdervation facility hold the Army Heritage Museum's artifacts and provide curatorial work space. Due to the nature of the work performed, they are not open to the public.
The U.S. Army Military History Institute pre-dates the U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center by over 40 years. Formed in 1967 as the Military History Research Collection, a branch of the U.S. Army War College Library, the institute became the primary repository for unofficial army historical materials. (Official U.S. Army records and other materials belong to the National Archives.) For most of its existence, the institute was housed in Upton Hall on Carlisle Barracks. Built in 1941 as an academic building for the Medical Field Service School, Upton Hall was adequate as a library but ill-suited for the size and preservation needs of a major archive.
Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera began the development of the U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center in May 1999 when he authorized the development of an Army museum at Carlisle. His successor, Thomas E. White, formally established the USAHEC and approved the construction of a new facility, the present-day Ridgway Hall, in 2001. He stated: "We will relocate its [the institute's] documents and holdings—the unofficial history of the United States Army—into a newly built state-of-the art archive, give that facility responsibility for administering historical documents and photographs Army wide, and associate it with an educational facility and a museum."
The U.S. Army Military History Institute resided in Upton Hall, on Carlisle Barracks, from 1967 to 2004.
The center, including the holdings of the institute, relocated from Upton Hall to Ridgway Hall in 2004, officially opening on September 24, 2004. The Army named the building for former Army Chief of Staff General Matthew B. Ridgway (1895-1993), commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II and of United Nations forces in the Korean War.
Along with further expansion of the Army Heritage Trail, the U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center plans two additional buildings for the near future.
The Conservation Center opened in September 2011. The facility will support paper and object conservation of USAHEC collections and includes conservation and analytical laboratories, artifact storage, and conservation science research areas.
Phase Two of the Visitor and Education Center will include an additional gallery, two additional multipurpose rooms, and expanded food service capability. The Army Heritage Center Foundation will construct the facility with private funds as soon as they are raised. Programmed cost of the expansion is $10 million.
The 40,000-square-foot Army Heritage Center is a future construction effort that will occur after the Foundation completes Phase Two of the Visitor and Education Center. The facility is expected to cost between $20 and 25 million to construct. When completed, the Army Heritage Museum staff will use the facility to exhibit many of the 50,000 plus artifacts relating to the service of individual Soldiers in the U.S. Army.