NEWPORT NEWS – The Virginia War Museum is celebrating its 100-year anniversary all year long and starting with a free outdoor concert featuring the U.S. Armed Forces Band.
The concert is set for 5pm in front of the museum, on May 20, which is Armed Forces Day, said Chris M. Garcia, education coordinator for the museum. The museum will be open with free admission following the concert. Virginia War Museum is located at 9285 Warwick Blvd.
Later this year, there will be a living history weekend event with military vehicle demonstrations and a new exhibit, the Global War on Terror, will open in November. The museum also launched a 100 Years, 100 Artifacts campaign that showcases the museum exhibits and items throughout the year.
The Virginia War Museum was established by American Legion Braxton-Perkins Post 23 as a memorial to those who fought in World War I, Garcia said.
“Among the Peninsula museums, it is the oldest,” Garcia said.
It was designated the American Legion Memorial Museum of Virginia and chartered by the commonwealth as the official repository for war-related artifacts in 1936, he said.
The collection has 45-thousand artifacts, which date back to the American Revolution up to the present. There are weapons, vehicles, time-period posters, and uniforms.
Newport News played a role in the war, and its contributions to the fight as a port are highlighted. There is also a special gallery dedicated to Women at War. Two other featured galleries are Marches Toward Freedom, which explores African American military members, and Visions of War, which showcases a large propaganda poster collection.
Another major exhibit at the museum features a section of the Berlin Wall and a section of the Dachau Concentration Camp fence.
“There is also Harry S Truman’s World War I helmet and a letter from Teddy Roosevelt,” Garcia said.
Among the rare items is a Finnish Lahti L-38 anti-tank rifle. It started production in 1939 and less than 1,900 were built.
The Virginia War Museum is open 9am to 4:30pm Thursday through Saturday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $6 for children. For more information, visit its website.