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Military magazine | The AAF Tank Museum
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The AAF Tank Museum

number-6The AAF TANK MUSEUM has been bringing tank and cavalry history alive for all generations to learn from and explore for the past 27 years.

In 1981 the American Armoured Foundation, Inc., Tank and Ordnance War Memorial Museum officially opened its doors in a 10,000-square-foot facility on one acre of property in Mattituck, NY. With only a modest collection of artifacts and two very determined volunteer directors, the AAF Tank Museum grew and prospered. As the museum’s collection grew, the facility that housed the collection became inadequate; a search for a new home ensued.

In 1999 a 330,000-square-foot shuttered mill building was generously donated to the museum and the next three years were spent closing the facility in New York, transporting the huge collection to Danville, VA, and starting the renovations and repairs to the new facility. Over 2,250 tons of military equipment was transported on flatbed tractor-trailers. In May 2003 the museum reopened its doors to the public and to date it is the largest combined collection of tank and cavalry artifacts found on display.

The journey into military history begins by traveling back to the late 1800s with an exhibit of a U.S. Model 1895 Gatling Gun with limber complete with soldiers in authentic period uniforms, real horses pulling the gun and a taxidermied dog for the company mascot. Next, is a salute to “Army Elvis” and then the “Tank Toy” exhibit with 450 homemade and commercially built toy tanks and other armored vehicles.

On the main level is the Rifle Room with over 65 rare, unique and common military rifles on exhibit from the 1800s to present, followed by a 5,200-square-foot “Headgear of the World” exhibit, where some unbelievable headgear worn by tank and cavalry soldiers over the ages is on display. Many of these helmets have magnificent long and colorful horsetails and plumes representing the bygone Victorian era.

A Korean War snow scene depicts two soldiers manning a recoilless rifle during an actual blowing snowstorm. The “International Hall of Tank and Cavalry Generals,” with over 220 tank and cavalry generals, brings visitors face to face with some very famous names in history.

There are an amazing 117 tanks and artillery pieces to view, along with thousands upon thousands of weapons, pins, patches, presentation pieces, pillow cases, jewelry, dishware, glassware, maps, flags, guidons, artwork and much more.
Other exhibits include “G.I. Joe — Carrier Pigeons at War,” dedicated to our feathered friends; “World War I period, U.S., Allied and Axis Tank Corps Artifacts,” and “Seek, Strike, Destroy — 1941 to 1946 period, U.S. Army Tank Destroyers at War,” that pays much overdue tribute to our little known tank destroyer forces of WWII.

There is much more at the AAF Tank Museum for visitors to experience and new exhibits are open on a regular schedule.

AAF TANK MUSEUM (3401 U.S. Highway 29B, Danville, VA 24540; phone 434/836-5323 or visit www.aaftankmuseum.com). Admission is $10, Adults; $9.50, children under 12 and adults over 60. The museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Sundays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).