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Heres what you need to know about the new Army and Navy national museums

Diana Stancy Correll

Heres what you need to know about the new Army and Navy national museums
You can always count on a healthy rivalry between the Army and the Navy — even when it comes to sharing updates on museums honoring their respective services on the same day.

On Tuesday, the Army announced it is poised to open the National Museum of the United States Army next month on Veterans Day on Nov. 11 while the Navy unveiled plans for its own new National Museum of the U.S. Navy in the nation’s capital.

For the Army, the new museum is the first of its kind detailing the service’s complete history dating back to 1775 and is located on a publicly accessible area of Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

The U.S. Army and the non-profit Army Historical Foundation collaborated to build up the museum, which is designed to provide “hands-on, educational and team-building activities in the areas of geography, science, technology, engineering and math,” according to the service.

“The U.S. Army and the American Soldier forged the birth of our nation,” Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said, according to an Army news release. “The National Army Museum will be a place for members of the total Army family to gather and share their stories, while also creating an opportunity for visitors to connect with our nation’s history through the eyes and voices of individual Soldiers.”

Additional health and safety precautions are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and visitors are permitted entry in time-slots to prevent crowds.

A small ceremony is scheduled to commemorate the museum’s opening, and will be livestreamed for virtual audiences as well on the museum’s website.

Meanwhile, Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite also announced on Oct. 13 that a “campus-style museum” honoring the service’s history is now in the works. Final construction and installation is slated for 2025 to coincide with the Navy’s 250th birthday.

“The new National Museum of the U.S. Navy will provide a tangible tribute to the service and sacrifice of our Sailors,” the Naval History and Heritage Command said in a news release. “The museum will be an advanced, campus design that will bring to life the human experiences of serving in the U.S. Navy, deliver leading-edge engagement to amplify Navy priorities and operations, showcase the history and heritage of all Navy communities, and create a memorial to our heritage and the service and sacrifice of American Sailors.”

Specifically, the new Navy museum is set to include interactive displays and 4D theater presentations, along with naval artifacts. There would be no entry fee to visit the museum.

The Navy has yet to nail down a specific location, but the service said it has its eye on areas near historic Washington Navy Yard and would coordinate with the District of Columbia and other stakeholders on the steps required ahead of settling a land deal.

Ensign Mohammad Issa, a spokesperson for the Naval History and Heritage Command, told Military Times constructing the museum’s facility would cost $204 million and that the total price tag would add up to $450 million.

The facility will succeed the current National Museum of the U.S. Navy already in Navy Yard, he said.


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