Best military museums in the US! Learn about the country’s military, past wars, and personal stories from members of the Armed Forces.

Best Military Museums In The US

If you’re new to our blog (hi!), you might not know that Vicky was in the Army. It really impacted her life in many different ways. Now when we travel, we always look for military museums and memorials to visit. We’ve already been to many, but we know there are a lot more out there.

If you would also like to visit some of the best military museums in the US, keep reading. With the help of our blogger friends, we’ve put together a pretty epic list of museums. We cover what makes them great, along with important visitor information.

US Veterans Memorial Museum – Huntsville, Alabama

Visiting the US Veterans Memorial Museum is one of the best things to do in Huntsville, Alabama. This incredible museum all started from a personal collection and then grew exponentially. People heard about the museum and started donating their own memorabilia. The museum still receives donations today!

Artifacts go all the way back to the Revolutionary War and they include uniforms, weapons, military equipment, jeeps, tanks, and even aircraft! They also have a replica of the briefing room of the 385th Bomb Group, USAAF in Great Ashfield, England during 1943-45.

  • Address: 2060 Airport Rd SW, Huntsville, AL 35801
  • Admission: $5 Donation for Adults, $4 Donation for Seniors, $3 Donation for Students under 18, Active Duty in Uniform and Guests Free.
  • Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
The US Veterans Memorial Museum in Huntsville, Alabama is one of the best military museums in the US
US Veterans Memorial Museum – Huntsville, Alabama

Pima Air and Space Museum – Tucson, Arizona

By Corinne of Reflections Enroute

One of the best military museums in the US can be found on Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. The Pima Air and Space Museum is a wonder of exhibits. There’s something for everyone, kids to adults. The museum is massive. It is 80 full acres of exhibits that are both inside and outside. Aircraft are located in six hangars, three of which are dedicated to World War II. 

There is everything from biplanes to Tomahawks, planes from aircraft carries and planes that hunt submarines. The history includes famous women pilots, the air war in Southeast Asia, all the way to the space race and today’s use of drones. The exhibits range from placards to video to interactive displays. Kids will love climbing aboard all kinds of contraptions from simulators to the planes and helicopters. 

My favorite part of the visit, though, was outside. Davis Monthan is home to the “Boneyard” or aircraft graveyard, where all de-commissioned aircraft go to die. You can take a tour from the museum to see huge fields of these old aircraft and it is well worth the bus trip. You will see all kinds of Air Force planes, many of which are not even that old.

There is so much to do, you will want to plan to spend at least four or five hours there. Thankfully, the on-site cafe serves up delicious burgers and fries.

  • Address: 6000 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85756
  • Admission: Adults $18.50, Children under 13 $12.00 (4 and under free)
  • Hours: Open everyday except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 9 AM to 3 PM (summer) and 5 PM (winter).
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Pima Air and Space Museum – Tucson, Arizona

USS Midway – San Diego, California

By Maria of San Diego Explorer

The USS Midway Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in San Diego and one of only 5 aircraft carrier museums in the US. Located right in Downtown San Diego along the beautiful San Diego Bay it is easily reached on foot and public transport for visitors staying in downtown. Visitors can explore all levels of the aircraft carrier, which is left exactly how it was, when the ship was decommissioned in 1992.

The size of the aircraft carrier is impressive, almost like a floating city at sea. There is of course a large galley that fed over 4000 sailors a day, a hospital, a dentist, laundry and of course the bunks for the sailors that give a glimpse of the daily life at sea. Also very impressive is the engine room and the Command Information Center, where strategic positions were planned and the surrounding area was monitored. 

Then visitors can also visit the flight deck and learn all about the famous Navy pilots and all the crew involved in each take off and landing and even take a seat in some of the fighter jets for a unique photo opportunity with the skyline of San Diego behind them. Another must see is the Bridge. Visitors are taken upstairs in small groups and receive a complimentary mini-tour of the bridge by one of the volunteers and gives great insight on how this aircraft carrier operated.

The volunteers are all over the ship and many have served either on the USS Midway or another aircraft carrier and always have interesting facts and stories to share from their time as soldiers. For military-buffs, this museum is a must!

  • Address: 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Admission: $26
  • Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • Parking: No free parking on site, but there is a paid parking lot right next to the museum on the Navy Pier.
USS Midway in San Diego, California
USS Midway – San Diego, California

Webb Military Museum – Savannah, Georgia

By Erin of the Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

Webb Military Museum is small, but it’s packed to the ceiling with memorabilia! Guests will find everything from original uniforms to medals of valor to a bullet-struck bible that granted its owner another 40-something years of life.  

Gary Webb is the proprietor, and you’ll find him in the museum most days of the week. He’s always happy to share the personal stories behind his collection. Webb opened the museum to honor his parents, who inspired his deep love of history. His collection even includes the gas mask his mother wore to school as a young girl living in London during WWII.  

Webb Military Museum consists of one large room that is subdivided by glass display cases. Each case focuses on a specific war or era in U.S. military history. The collection includes unique finds such as the front section of a downed plane, one of Saddam Hussein’s uniforms, and Confederate money found stashed in a Savannah home.

Even though Savannah ghost tours tend to be the most popular activity amongst tourists, Webb Military Museum consistently ranks as one of TripAdvisor’s top things to do in Savannah. Rightly so, thanks to Mr. Webb’s passion for showing off his collection and sharing his knowledge with visitors.

  • Address: 411 E York Street, Savannah, GA 31401
  • Admission: $10
  • Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 AM to 5 PM. Sunday, 12 PM to 4 PM.
  • Parking: Metered street parking is available in front of the museum.
Webb Military Museum in Savannah, Georgia is one of the best military museums in the US
Webb Military Museum – Savannah, Georgia

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum – Honolulu, Hawaii

By Marcie of Hawaii Travel with Kids

One of the coolest military museums in the United States is the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on Oahu in Hawaii. It’s sometimes overlooked because people don’t realize that Pearl Harbor is home to more than just the USS Arizona Memorial.

There are many fascinating things to see at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum including real bullet holes in the windows from when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Guests can also check out several WWII-era military planes inside the main exhibit area as well as the hangar.

If you can, sign up for a docent-led tour to hear all the fascinating stories about what life was like in Hawaii during WWII. And there’s an incredible display about a Japanese pilot who crashed on Ni’ihau, a Hawaiian island that is closed to visitors.

In 2022, the museum opened up the Ford Island Control Tower where guests can get an amazing view of Pearl Harbor all the way to the Waikiki area. It’s a separate ticket, but such a unique experience.

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum also offers flight simulator experiences, a fascinating outdoor exhibit about Bob Hope and the USO, and the gift shop is fully of treasures.

  • Address: 319 Lexington Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96818
  • Admission: Adult: $25.99, Children (Ages 4-12): $14.99, Children 3 years of age and under, free.
  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Parking: There is no on-site parking. Free shuttles depart approximately every 15 minutes from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center from 8 AM to 4 PM daily.
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum – Honolulu, Hawaii

USS Missouri – Honolulu, Hawaii

By Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler

One of the best military museums in the United States is the iconic USS Missouri. The battleship stands tall and proud in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While the USS Missouri was not in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, it was where the Instruments of Surrender were signed by Japan, officially ending World War II in 1945. Visiting the USS Missouri is a bucket list experience for any military history buffs. 

The USS Missouri was the last battleship ever built and was home to over fifty years of American history before its second decommission in the late 1990s. It was brought to Pearl Harbor and stands guard over the USS Arizona memorial nearby. Now, this unique museum gives people a chance to literally walk through history. The ship has been restored so you can see how the officers and ship personnel lived throughout the decades.

There are a number of permanent and temporary exhibits throughout the ship. This includes a memorial to Japanese kamikaze pilots, crew rooms, officers’ lodging, and more. There are several displays that show the way of life for thousands of our brave troops.

If you’re visiting Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, then be sure to add a tour of the USS Missouri. The guides are able to bring the ship to life with their stories and knowledge.

  • Address: 63 Cowpens St, Honolulu, HI 96818
  • Admission: $35 which includes a 35-minute guided tour
  • Hours: 8 AM to 4 PM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
USS Missouri in Honolulu, Hawaii
USS Missouri – Honolulu, Hawaii

National World War II Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana

By Angela of FittinginAdventure.com

The National World War II Museum is a must-see for all. The museum offers a uniquely engaging approach to an important part of world history by issuing dog tags for “your” soldier to follow throughout the multiple stories of exhibits. 

Entering the museum, you hop on a “train” ride complete with seat rumbles and a movie discussing the war. After you “arrive” you wander the European, Pacific, and Homefront exhibits. The exhibits span over more than six acres with nearly 250,000 artifacts placed in sets built like bunkers, homefront, and European streets to transport you back into wartime.

The museum captures the American experience of World War II by telling why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Roughly 24% of the US male population served in the war, these exhibits are the stories of their sacrifices and are brought to life in a way no history book can compare.

  • Address: 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
  • Admission: $31.50, but discounts are available for veterans, military, seniors, and students.
  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Parking: The museum has a nearby paid parking garage.
National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana
National World War II Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana

National WWI Museum and Memorial – Kansas City, Missouri

The National WWI Museum and Memorial is the only museum in the country dedicated solely to the Great War. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, its mission is remembering, interpreting, and understanding a war that dramatically changed the global community.

As you walk up to the museum, the first thing you’ll see is the impressive Liberty Memorial Tower. It is over 200 feet tall and built in an Egyptian style. On it, there is an inscription that reads “In honor of those who served in the World War in defense of liberty and our country.”

Inside the museum, visitors will find an impressive collection with over 75,000 items. There are also rotating exhibits and events that take place at the museum. It’s really a fascinating place.

  • Address: 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108
  • Admission: $18, but discounts are available for seniors, military, and students. There is an additional cost for admission to the Liberty Memorial Tower and Wylie Gallery.
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri is one of the best military museums in the US
National WWI Museum and Memorial – Kansas City, Missouri

National Museum of the US Air Force – Dayton, Ohio

While visiting a friend in Yellow Springs, Ohio, she recommended that we visit the nearby National Museum of the US Air Force. We’re so glad we did! We spent a few hours wandering around the various galleries and looking at all of the exhibits. It is located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world.

There are historic items and over 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display. Our favorite part of the museum was being able to walk into many of the airplanes, including four airplanes used by various presidents. We even saw where Vice President Johnson was sworn in after the death of President Kennedy.

  • Address: 1100 Spaatz St, Dayton, OH 45433
  • Admission: FREE
  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
National Museum of the US Air Force – Dayton, Ohio
National Museum of the US Air Force – Dayton, Ohio

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum – Charleston, South Carolina

By Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast

The Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum is actually the USS Yorktown, a prominent aircraft carrier that was instrumental in the Pacific Arena of World War II, and participated in the Battle of Okinawa and the Battle of Midway.

Today, you can explore essentially the entire ship, following different tour routes to see spots like the navigation rooms, bridge, the flight deck, the radio rooms, the torpedo building rooms, the galley, the bunk rooms, shaving rooms, engine rooms, captain’s quarters, and so, so many more.

In the main hangar of the interior of the ship, there are more traditional museum-like exhibits, with many old school fighter planes on display, an exhibit honoring Medal of Honor recipients, and a room of old artifacts, including a piece of a Japanese kamikaze plane, a flight jacket and suit, and more. 

On the top deck of the ship, there are more old military planes to look at and examine, and some anti-aircraft guns that you could actually sit on and “play” with. 

This is really a super cool museum – it felt like a step right back in time to what the USS Yorktown was like in the 1940’s. We spent two hours here, but could have easily spent 4-5 hours taking everything in. There is also a WWII destroyer and a Vietnam camp recreation to explore. This is an amazing military museum and absolutely one of the best things to do when visiting Charleston!

  • Address: 40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
  • Admission: $27
  • Hours: The hours vary a bit throughout the year, but generally opens at either 9 AM or 10 AM, and closes either at 5 PM or 6:30 PM.
  • Parking: It costs $5 to park onsite and there are not great parking options off-site, though people did just park on the grass on the streets nearby.
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum - Charleston, South Carolina
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum – Charleston, South Carolina

Battle of Franklin Museum – Franklin, Tennessee

By Brittany of Travel by Brit

If you’d like to learn about the Civil War—you can’t miss the chance to visit the Battle of Franklin Museum in Franklin, Tennessee. 

The Battle of Franklin Museum is comprised of three historic homes—Carter House, Carnton, and Rippa Villa—each telling a unique story about the Battle of Franklin on November 30th, 1864. The Battle of Franklin was one of the bloodiest in the western theater of the Civil War and was one of the worst disasters for the Confederate Army, so learning about this critical event is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Franklin, TN!

Depending on your ticket, you can tour one home from the Battle of Franklin Trust or all three! If you only have time to tour one home, however, the Carter House is the one you should choose. The Battle of Franklin took place in the backyard of this home while the family hid in the basement. You can still see the bullet holes through the walls—in fact, this property holds the most battle-damaged building from the Civil War! 

However, Carnton and Rippa Villa both have a fascinating history too! Carnton became the largest temporary hospital for tending the wounded after the Battle of Franklin (you can still see the blood stains on the porch!), and Rippa Villa was the site of the Battle of Spring Hill—the precursor to the Battle of Franklin.

  • Address:
    • Carter House: 1140 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064
    • Carnton: 1345 Eastern Flank Circle, Franklin, TN 37064
    • Rippa Villa: 5700 Main Street, Spring Hill, TN 37174
  • Admission:
    • $40 for admission to Carter House, Carnton, and Rippa Villa
    • $30 for admission to Carter House and Carnton
    • $18 for admission to either Carter House, Carnton, or Rippa Villa
  • Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 AM – 5 PM. Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
Battle of Franklin Museum - Franklin, Tennessee
Battle of Franklin Museum – Franklin, Tennessee

National Museum of the Pacific War – Fredericksburg, Texas

By Umiko of Two Worlds Treasures

The National Museum of the Pacific War is not just a treasure for history buffs to visit in Fredericksburg, Texas. It is a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about World War II in the Asia Pacific region, whether you’re a student or just curious about war history in general.

The museum has an extensive collection of authentic Pacific War artifacts, such as warships, planes, and guns. What I find most compelling are the personal accounts of real people who lived and died during the war. When you read it, it is humanity, not the war, that stays with you. After all, this museum was built to honor Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, a hometown hero who served as Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet during WWII. He didn’t want it to be just his story; he wanted to honor everyone who served in the Pacific War and contributed to the effort.

The museum will teach you that the Pacific War was much more than Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. You’ll learn about the Doolittle Raid, Midway, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and the Sullivan Brothers, among other things.

You’ll see how a 10-year-old Chinese boy was sent to war and how young Japanese boy scouts were rifle-drilled. Imagine a mother whose five sons went missing in action off the Solomon Islands.

When you leave the museum, you realize that no civilians should be threatened by war. Everyone must live in harmony.

  • Address: 311 E Austin St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624
  • Admission: Teachers $14 (free on Sunday), Adult $20, Senior (65+) $16, Military (with ID) $14, WWII Veteran Free, Student College (with ID) $10, Student (6-17) $10, Child (5 or younger) Free, Blue Star Program (with ID) Free, ANF Member Ticket (with ID) Free, ANF Member Guest (must be accompanied by a member) Free, Museums for All (with SNAP/EBT/Lone Star & ID) Free.
  • Hours: Wednesday to Monday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed Tuesday.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
National Museum of the Pacific War - Fredericksburg, Texas
National Museum of the Pacific War – Fredericksburg, Texas

Silent Wings Museum – Lubbock, Texas

Visiting the Silent Wings Museum is one of the top things to do in Lubbock Texas. Located at Lubbock Airport, the Silent Wings Museum comprehensively covers and explains the World War II glider program and its importance in military operations. For instance, glider pilots volunteered for the dangerous “one way” glider missions and IF they survived they then became infantry fighters or armed guards. Wow!

Nearly 90% of the items at the Silent Wings Museum have been lovingly donated by glider pilots and their families. Many of the exhibits and displays present the World War II experience in words from the actual glider pilots. Permanent exhibits outline why the glider program existed and how it helped the World War II military campaign, the strict training regimen for glider pilots, and the glider pilot experience in combat and military operations. Temporary exhibits vary and have included glider artwork, support personnel (mechanics and on ground), and the multi-decade process of restoring their CG-4A glider.

The highlight at Silent Wings Museum is a restored WACO CG-4A, the backbone aircraft of the U.S. glider force that flew in every major invasion of World War. II. Only a handful of these gliders remain today and the Smithsonian Institute owns another one.

  • Address: 6202 N. I-27, Lubbock, TX 79403
  • Admission: $10, Seniors $8, Children and college students $5, Active military FREE.
  • Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM. Sunday, 1PM to 5PM.
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
Silent Wings Museum - Lubbock, Texas
Silent Wings Museum – Lubbock, Texas

National Museum of the United State Army – Fort Belvoir, Virginia

By Julie of Fun in Fairfax VA

In late 2020, the National Museum of the United States Army opened in Northern Virginia, an impressive addition to the Washington DC region. The new museum interprets the history of the US Army from the perspective of the servicemen and women who served. These personal stories add a compelling and intimate perspective to our understanding of major conflicts around the world.

The US Army Museum motto is “every soldier has a story,” and those stories are told throughout the exhibits. For example, a series of pillars lead from outside the building through the lobby, each one etched with a soldier’s face and a story of their bravery and dedication. Other exhibits include a theater with a wrap-around screen and galleries that highlight major periods in the Army’s 145-year history.

The seven major galleries are packed with artifacts and life-sized sets from the Revolutionary War to modern-day conflicts. Artifacts range from tiny sketches to full-size equipment like helicopters, tanks, and a Higgins Landing Boat. Excellent volunteer docents are present to add more detail and context to important artifacts. Family-friendly interactive exhibits, videos, and simulators bring details to life.

  • Address: 1775 Liberty Dr, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
  • Admission: Admission is free but timed entry tickets are required (reserve online)
  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Parking: There is free parking on site.
National Museum of the United State Army - Fort Belvoir, Virginia
National Museum of the United State Army – Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Final Thoughts On The Best Military Museums In The US

Visiting military museums is a great way to learn about American history. It’s also a way to pay your respects and honor the men and women who have served.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of what we consider to be the best military museums in the US. If you’ve visited other military museums that you recommend and they aren’t on our list, please let us know about them in the comments below. We’d love to visit them one day and add them to our list. 🙂

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Best military museums in the US! Learn about the country's military, past wars, and personal stories from members of the Armed Forces.