Monday, March 21, 2011

Texas Military Forces Museum - Camp Mabry - Austin, Texas

This past weekend, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Brigadier General John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. We were in Austin to visit my daughter. While the rest of the family was out at a farmer's market on a Saturday morning, my daughter's "beau" and I went to the museum. He was great company and it was great fun!

The museum reminded me very much of one of my other favorite museums: the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, which I have written about before (here and here).

Indeed, just as the 45th was an Oklahoma National Guard unit activated for service in WWII, so was the 36th from the Texas National Guard. Both divisions can trace theor origins to the early 1900s (or before) and one of the 45th's regiments was actually attached to the 36th during WWI, so they actually share some heritage.

And although the museum is dedicated to Texas military forces and actions from Texan Independence through the modern day, the heart of the museum is dedicated to the 36th Infantry Division.

The museum is composed of several exhibits, including the "The Great Hall" which showcases the museum's large artifacts, with vehicles and weapons ranging from horse-drawn wagons used in the early 1900s through the World Wars and to the War on Terror.

The displays included vehicles such as tanks and jeeps to heavy weapons (machine guns, mortars, etc), rare enemy vehicles (including German armor from WWII) and aircraft (trainers and helicopters).

My daughter's boyfriend is an ex-Marine (thanks for your service, John!) and - as an expert - was abe to identify some of the weapons and tell me about their evolution compared to weapons that he used himself.

The "Main Gallery" covers the period from the Texas Revolution through the Spanish-American War. Among the highlights of the Main Gallery were the colors of the 10th Texas Cavalry, CSA, and some amazing and detailed dioramas, including the Alamo, the Civil War battles of Sabine Pass and The Wilderness, a WWI battle, and more.

Outside, there is a park of armor, self-propelled guns, artillery, helicopters, and jets.

It is a TERRIFIC museum and you can support their mission of improving and expanding the museum and its archival holdings by becoming a member ($20 annually) here.

Enjoy the photos below!

Photos of the Great Hall
Sherman Tank display in the Great Hall
WWII German Vehicles in the Great Hall
Cavalry Wagon Display in the Great Hall
Artillery Display in the "Great Hall" (Field Gun, 75mm Howitzer M1897 A4, 1917-1945)
"Battle of the Wilderness" Diorama
Civil War Colors of the 10th Texas Cavalry, CSA

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