(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum related posts) – The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Building 6 on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. The street address of Camp Mabry is 2200 West 35th Street. A photo I.D. for all adults is required for entry onto Camp Mabry. In addition, Camp Mabry regulations require motorcycle riders to wear long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and a motorcycle helmet. The museum is always free and is open 10AM to 4PM Tuesday thru Sunday.
I like history museums and particularly those that cover the period 1939-1945, the years of World War II. I had seen the sign at Camp Mabry while driving down MoPac many times for the Texas Military Forces Museum. Finally, on September 17, 2017, I was motivated by Austin Museum Day to visit the museum.
While this isn’t a huge museum (at only 45,000-square feet it is a fraction in size of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans), I was impressed with the size and the extent of the collection on display. As the name implies, the museum covers all periods of Texas military history from the war of independence with Mexico, the US Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and today’s War against Terrorism. (Vietnam is NOT covered because the Texas National Guard was not called up).
The indoor part of the museum consists of four areas:
- The main hall
- The 36th Division in WWI & II gallery
- The 19th Century gallery
- The Cold War / War on Terror gallery
The largest portion of the collection is focused on the action by Texas units during World War II. The museum has been open since November 14, 1992.
Among the items on display in the 36th Division in WWI & II gallery
Among the displays in the 19th Century Gallery are:
- The birth certificate of the Texas Military Forces on November 10, 1822
- The Mier Expedition and the Black Bean Incident – draw your bean to see if you would survive
Among the displays in the Cold War / War on Terror are:
- A section of the Berlin Wall
The museum holds several vehicles from the World War II era. Mostly US, but also a few German vehicles. Some of these are taken out of the museum and used during reenactments conducted a couple of times each year on the grounds of Camp Mabry.
The Museum hosts several special events throughout the year. Some of these have been:
- March 8-9, 2020 – Battleground 1863 Civil War era
- November 8-9, 2019 – Close Assault ’44
- October 26, 2019 – Mabry Monster M*A*S*H & Jeepers Creepers Rally
- June 22, 2019 – Hands-on History Night
- June 13, 2019 – Museum Foundation Mixer
- November 12, 2017 – Close Assualt ’44
They also have some well-done dioramas from several periods, though I think my favorite is the one depicting a down in France shortly after D-Day. Amazingly this detailed display was built by Gilbert High School students of Gilbert, Arizona.
Leaving the building itself, there is a static display of armor and artillery around the building. Mostly from World War II, but a few more modern as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I wish I had made the time to explore the museum earlier.
The outdoor exhibits are divided into the following areas:
- Armor Row
- Artillery Park
- Parade Ground
I am hoping that I can return on Armistice Day (November 11, 2017) weekend when they host one of the re-enactments “Close Assault 1944“. The re-enactment is presented by “Company G”, this is
a “hard core” LIVING HISTORY group. Their principle aim is to find out what it was like to be on the front lines and in camps during America’s greatest conflicts – the War Between the States, World War I, World War II and Vietnam – while educating and commemoration along the way.
The event is free and there is plenty of free parking.
If you like history, particularly military history, you will want to visit this museum. You can follow the museum on social media:
- Website: http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/texasmilitaryforcesmuseum/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMFMuseum
SHOP & SUPPORT the Texas Military Forces Museum!
You can also support the museum by joining the Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation. The Foundation works in conjunction with the Adjutant General’s Department and its Texas Military Forces Museum to preserve the legacy of the Texas military forces and educate the museum’s visitors on the role they have played in the history of Texas and the United States. Membership Levels:
- Student/Educator/Military/Senior $25
- Basic $30
- Silver $125
- Gold $250
- Life $1000
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