visiting the American Military Museum
A visit to the American Military Museum
We discovered the actual “happiest place on Earth” in Southern California, and it has nothing to do with a mouse. Just 15 minutes east of downtown Los Angeles you’ll find a rarified collection of more than 170 armored and support fighting vehicles on display. The American Military Museum’s collection of vehicles pays tribute to over 50 years of American armor. We couldn’t help but stop by to take a closer look.
The museum has been collecting, preserving and restoring a large variety of military vehicles, artillery and equipment since 1962 and is home to one of the largest inter-service in the Western United States. Its displays include vehicles that have served in most of America’s modern conflicts including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm.
Not only is the American Military Museum a place to see these incredible machines up close and personal (you’ve never experienced the M53 155mm Self-propelled Gun properly until you see how giant this beast is in person), it is also a center for education about the lineage of American military vehicle history, from horse-drawn artillery all the way to self-propelled cannons and battle tanks. The museum prides itself in being a place for historical, design and engineering learning. They have study guides available to students that cover everything from the American Civil War to the Cold War.
In fact, the museum has served as a place where students from renowned design universities such as Art Center of Pasadena and Otis College of Art and Design come to study vehicle and industrial design. They’re not all static displays either. The museum has vehicles and equipment that has been rented out for movie and televisions shows, too.
In an ongoing push to keep our past alive, the museum’s core volunteers have been continually maintaining and restoring their collection. Currently, they’re restoring a WWII-ERA M3 Half-track and just completed a face-lift of a Jeep as well. You can follow along with their latest project progressions on their blog, tankland.com/museum-news. All of this fine work is done largely in part to the fine work of its dedicated volunteer force. If you’re a hands-on type and enthusiastic about tanks and other military equipment, the museum welcomes enthusiasts to join them for volunteer service. Along with tanks and artillery, you’ll also see air- and water-borne vehicles including PT Boats, D-day Higgins landing craft, a Vietnam river boat and even a Huey Gunship that saw action in Vietnam. It was a memorable and worthwhile visit for us for sure. The next time you’re out in Southern California, pay a visit to what we consider the area’s real happiest place on Earth.
The museum has been collecting vehicles and equipment since 1962, and its collection includes hardware that has served in every modern American conflict from WWI to Operation Desert Storm.