The National Museum of the United States Army will hold a virtual ceremony to celebrate its grand opening this afternoon.
According to a release, building construction and exhibit installations are now complete, meaning the museum is ready to open its doors to the public for the first time.
“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,” said Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy.
The museum had planned to open earlier this year, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented that.
Located on a publicly accessible area of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, it is the first and only museum to tell the entire history of the U.S. Army since its establishment in 1775.
The experiential learning center allows visitors of all ages to participate in hands-on, educational and team-building activities in the areas of geography, science, technology, engineering and math.
“The museum is stunning, and it is an honor to present this history in a way that shows the connection between the American soldier, the U.S. Army and the nation,” said Museum Director Tammy E. Call.
The museum will open with enhanced health and safety measures for visitors. Free, timed-entry tickets are required to manage visitor capacity and provide an optimal experience to visitors.
“We have worked hard to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, and we are excited to open the doors of this long-awaited national museum,” added Call.
The museum is a joint effort between the U.S. Army and the Army Historical Foundation, a non-profit organization. The AHF constructed the building through private funds, and the U.S. Army provided the infrastructure, roads, utilities and exhibit work that transformed the building into a museum. The Army owns and operates the museum, and the AHF manages retail, catering and special events.
“The National Museum of the United States Army is designed to tell the compelling and heroic stories of our people and take visitors on an exciting journey through the history of the U.S. Army as told through the American soldiers’ point of view,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville.
The opening will be preceded by a small ceremony that will be live-streamed beginning at 2 p.m. EST.