‘Soldier Experience’ Gallery Opens at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

A new high-tech exhibit gallery opening here Friday, 9 November at 4:00 p.m., allows the public to immerse themselves in “The Soldier Experience.”

 A new high-tech exhibit gallery opening here Friday, 9 November at 4:00 p.m., allows the public to immerse themselves in "The Soldier Experience." The 7,000-square foot gallery at the U.S. Army War College’s Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) provides an in-depth look at the history of the U.S. Army as seen through the eyes of Soldiers. It tells their stories through excerpts from personal diaries and papers, as well as photos and gear.

Supporting grand opening ceremonies for the gallery are re-enactors from different periods in U.S. history, as well as specific living Veterans spotlighted in the gallery. This new interactive exhibit remains open throughout the full Veterans Day holiday weekend and continues afterward as a permanent exhibit.

Visitors view representations of what Soldiers’ lives were like at home and abroad, in combat and in support. Specific interactive exhibits in “The Soldier Experience” gallery allow visitors to test their marksmanship on a simulated Army rifle range, drop into a Normandy field on D-Day using a parachute simulator, and occupy an American bunker featuring combat sounds of the Korean War. Visitors may pose for photographs behind life-size displays of current combat gear and attempt to lift a full complement of body armor, including a helmet and rifle.

As they enter, a timeline provides visitors an overall perspective for Army history. Visitors then collect a historically accurate depiction of a military dog tag on a scan card representing one of six Soldier stories told in the gallery. As they make their way through the gallery, visitors can stop at different stations and scan their dog tag to learn more about their particular Soldier. They discover what happened to their Soldier at the gallery’s end. The gallery also maintains temporary exhibits, the first of which interprets the year 1862 of the Civil War, during its 150th anniversary.

The gallery’s materials come from the extensive historical collection of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, which covers every period in the U.S. Army’s history from the Spanish-American War through current operations. The USAHEC collection of nearly 67,000 artifacts, 2 million photographs, and 11 million archival and library items, includes a broad spectrum of materials related to the service of individual Soldiers and constitutes nearly one-tenth of all artifacts within the U.S. Army Museum System.

The USAHEC, a historical research arm of the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, preserves Army heritage, honors Soldiers and Army veterans, and educates the Army and the Nation on the role of the Soldier in the development and protection of the Nation. It also supports the education, research and publication, and strategic communication missions of the U.S. Army War College, among other programs.

The public is welcome to attend the opening of “The Soldier Experience” on 9 November between 4:00 and 6:00 pm at the Visitor and Education Center. There is ample free parking and refreshments will be served. The USAHEC Visitor and Education Center general operating hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. The facility is located at 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA. For more information, call 717-245-3972 or check the website, www.usahec.org.