Camp Ripley: Minnesota Military Museum is wide open for the summer
CAMP RIPLEY--The Minnesota Military Museum, located at Camp Ripley, has extended its summer hours to 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, including holidays. "We wanted to reach out into the communities, and welcome people to the museum," said Curator Doug Thom...
CAMP RIPLEY-The Minnesota Military Museum, located at Camp Ripley, has extended its summer hours to 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, including holidays.
"We wanted to reach out into the communities, and welcome people to the museum," said Curator Doug Thompson.
The museum has been a part of the Camp Ripley landscape since the late 1970s, when it originally occupied one of the installation's first buildings near the main gate. With the expansion of new exhibits, to better meet the new mission, the museum moved to a much larger building and used the grounds around it for vehicle displays.
"The building was originally used as a unit headquarter during training, and is in fact, a piece of Camp Ripley's history as well," added Thompson.
Through the documentation, preservation, and explanation of military history The Minnesota Military Museum seeks to strengthen public understanding of how the experiences of fellow Minnesotans have shaped our state and nation. They achieve this through the various works, projects and programs they put on throughout Minnesota.
"The museum is a great outreach opportunity for the Minnesota Military Historical Society and for the Minnesota National Guard to share the significance of those from our state that served in the Armed Forces," said Thompson.
One of the latest opportunities is the Traveling Trunk Program to help bring history to life in schools, libraries, other museums, or youth groups. Each trunk focuses on a specific time period and contains an assortment of items-original or reproduction-that would have been commonly used by soldiers during that time in our nation's history.
The contents of these trunks can be used for research, exhibition, or as a hands-on educational resource that piques student interest in history by engaging them in object-based learning. Trunks are free of charge; available for the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War and are able to be requested by downloading a form and sending it to the museum.
For over 150 years Minnesotans, like many Americans, have contributed to the United States Armed Forces. Some volunteered, others were told, but either way the men and women of the North Star State did their duty and returned home to contribute with what they learned.
Once a month during the summer, and periodically through the winter, the museum features a select Minnesota veteran in a special "Featured Veteran" showcase. The featured veteran for June is Milburn Henke, a Hutchinson native who was credited with being the first G.I. to set foot in Europe after America's entry into World War II. On display in the museum is his original uniform and short biography with select photos of his time in service. Interestingly enough, Henke was a part of Minnesota's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Other key events that will take place this year include the return of the museum's very rare M4A3E8 "Jumbo" Sherman, which has been undergoing a series of modifications bringing it back to its original condition. On Aug. 12 the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) association will host a reunion on Camp Ripley, where the battalion was first stood up in 1942. The museum will work together with Camp Ripley to finish out this training year with an open house and community appreciation event 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept 17 featuring vehicles and equipment displays and a ceremony honoring those that fought during the Korean War.
While visiting the museum, it's easy for everyone to understand why and how significant events unfolded as they did and to gain an appreciation for the actions and sacrifices of Minnesota citizens who served in all branches of the service. Additionally visitors can learn about those that served on the home front-in times of peace and times of war-from our state's early frontier days up to the present.
The museum also functions as a major repository in Minnesota for historical artifacts and records of a military nature, is operated by Military Historical Society of Minnesota, Inc., and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
Come visit the Minnesota Military Museum on Camp Ripley near Little Falls, open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May through September. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16. Children under 6, currently serving military personnel and museum members are free.