The top 5 war museums

In Military History

1.) Imperial War Museums - Various locations, Britain

 Alright, perhaps this is cheating slightly because the IWM is split into several different branches. But the thing is - each of the branches is incredible and well worth a  visit! If I had to select one of the locations above all the others, the Duxford site holds a mighty array of aircraft and is simply a must-see! Imperial War Museums as an organization have always been a great ally of ours, providing artefacts, research material and a wealth of archival information for several of our books that would simply be unavailable anywhere else in the world.

2.) Chiran peace Museum - Chiran, MinamiKyushu, Kagoshima, Japan.

An unusual and emotional place, the Chiran museum is largely dedicated to Japan's Tokkotai pilots of World War II. Regardless of the ideology that motivated (and in many cases, forced) the Kamikaze fliers to complete their deadly missions, the use of planned, sustained and co-ordinated suicide tactics is an unprecedented and terrible phenomenon in world history, and deserves focus.  Built in 1975 with the dubious purpose of remembering the special attack pilots and their 'patriotic efforts for peace' the museum features several of the main Japanese aircraft used for the Kamikaze weapons, as well as a moving collection of letters, personal effects and memorabilia belonging to the airmen.

3.) Bundeswehr Military History Museum -Albertstadt, Dresden 

A very impressive collection of stuff in a very impressive building. It was originally an armoury, built for Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1876 and up until its closure in 1989 it was a rather typical military museum, showcasing the evolution of German military technology throughout the ages. But the building survived the terrible effects of war in Dresden during World War II, and when it finally re-opened in 2011, its focus was markedly different. Complete with a brand new glass section of the building added on, the museum concentrated on the human side of war, presenting military history as interwoven into the texture of a nation's general history. But it still has lots of cool handguns and uniforms!

4.) Royal Navy Submarine Museum - Gosport, UK

This establishment is dedicated to the history of the submarine and all submersible vessels, going as far back as the time of Alexander the Great right up to the present day. It is based at the 'stone frigate' HMS dolphin shore establishment, which used to be a submarine base itself. The best bit is the large HMS. Alliance, an Acheron-class boat laid down at the end of World War II and completed in 1947, which you can go inside. Since 2001, the museum has also displayed the HMS Holland, which was the first submarine ever commissioned by the Royal Navy. It's housed in a special, climate-controlled room, and you can clamber on board this one too! 

5.) General George Patton Museum

Located at the famous Fort Knox, the museum complex there houses one of the largest collections of armoured vehicles in the world, focusing not only on tanks but also trucks and jeeps. The overall coverage of the history and development of armoured warfare is excellent, but more curious is the mini-museum within the larger complex, which is dedicated to George Patton exclusively. It contains personal effects and memorabilia from Patton's life, from childhood up to the end of World War II. Because of where it is located, the gift shop sells mini replica gold bars from the nearby depository!


So how does our top five compare to yours? Have we missed something crucial out, or added a duff choice? Get in touch and let us know, tell us about your best military museum visits!

Post Comments

AdamC posted on 28 Jun 2014 14:32:00
1. Bovington Tank Museum is a probably one of my favourite places in the world, loved it since I was a kid!
2. The Imperial War Museum Duxford takes some beating.
3. The RAF Museum Hendon is not far behind though.
4. The Fleet Air Arm Museum Yeovilton is well worth a trip with some really rare types.
5. Fort George just outside Inverness is also well worth a trip and you can pick up the battlefield a Culloden while you are there. Great day out of military history fans.
SU 85 posted on 28 Jun 2014 13:40:00
For medieval buffs the White Tower in the Tower of London has a comprehensive collection of weapons and armour - well it did twenty years ago and the Museum of the Armee in Paris has many of Napoleons Eagles and displays covering periods from the middle ages to WW2
Paintybeard posted on 28 Jun 2014 11:41:00
Yes MTG, plenty of trips to Japan, but I didn\'t know of this museum then. Did manage to get to Osaka castle, which is a pretty good day out.

I\'m off to Korea in ten days time for a training course, so I\'m hunting round the \'net for interesting sights to see near Pusan!
Fadrique posted on 28 Jun 2014 10:34:00
If any of you travels to Madrid, I
MTG posted on 28 Jun 2014 02:59:00
Have you not docked in Japan PB?
GI Gene posted on 27 Jun 2014 21:58:00
The top five that I have set foot in:

1. The Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona is the third largest air museum in the country that has several rare planes plus a repectable collection of Russian Migs. They recently acquired a Mi-24 Hind.

2. The Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, Arizona where you can tour an actual missile silo with the missile still in it.

3. The USS Midway Museum. Its a big aircraft carrier with lots of planes and history in the middle of San Diego Harbor. \'Nuff said.

4. The Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina is the closest you will find to a military history disneyland. Paratroopers, Green Berets, special forces, and other cool exhibits including the remains of one of the UH-60 Blackhawks that was shot down in Mogadishu.

5. The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida is packed wall to wall with USN special warfare awesomeness. Plus its next to a beach that goes on forever.
resqspc posted on 27 Jun 2014 18:10:00
...sorry, hit the wrong button. I would also add the Ordnance Corps Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Collection ranges from \'Leopold\' the German railway cannon captured in Italy, down to the soldier\'s individual weapons and gear--including the not-always-successful...
resqspc posted on 27 Jun 2014 18:06:00
The Patton\'s collection of vehicles and hardware has been largely relocated to Ft Benning, GA, where a new facility will be built for it. The Patton itself is now the \'General George Patton Museum of Leadership\'...
murphac posted on 27 Jun 2014 18:00:00
For aviation buffs the National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio (hometown of the Wright Brothers) is well worth a visit. They have an extensive collection of not just American combat and experimental aircraft, but many foreign aircraft, and a collection of former presidential aircraft.
Paintybeard posted on 27 Jun 2014 16:34:00
I\'ve been lucky enough to see all of Michaels list except No.2. All are well worth going out of your way to visit.

I\'d add Kubinka Tank museum to the list, but do have a translator or learn a bit of Russian before you go, there isn\'t much allowance made for foreign visitors.
MTG posted on 27 Jun 2014 15:17:00
I certainly rate the Royal Armories in Leeds but the best ever military museum trip I went on was to The Small Arms School Corps museum in Warminster (an appropriate name if ever there was one).
MTG posted on 27 Jun 2014 15:17:00
I certainly rate the Royal Armories in Leeds but the best ever military museum trip I went on was to The Small Arms School Corps museum in Warminster (an appropriate name if ever there was one).

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