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Fort Belvoir site approved for Army Museum

Monday, August 01, 2011

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh has approved the Gunston location of the Fort Belvoir, Va., North Post as the official site of the National Museum of the United States Army after the completion of a comprehensive and thorough site selection process that concluded with a favorable environmental assessment of the area.

McHugh’s announcement came on June 17, rounding out the week during which the United States Army celebrated its 236th birthday.

"In presenting the Army’s storied 236-year history, this long overdue facility will offer the American people a unique opportunity to connect with our soldiers and better understand and appreciate their many and glorious stories," McHugh said.

To date nearly $60 million in donations and pledges have been contributed toward the museum’s construction by various corporations, foundations, veterans’ service organizations – and over 85,000 individuals.

"Secretary McHugh’s designation marks a significant milestone in our efforts to move forward with construction of the National Museum of the United States Army," Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr., USA, Ret., executive director of the Army Historical Foundation, said.

The foundation is spearheading the museum’s capital campaign.

According to Abrams, the "preferred site" status of the Gunston location has now changed to the "official future site" of the museum after the successful completion of the environmental assessment.

"We now have the green light. Our plan is to break ground next year to allow the Army’s Corps of Engineers to begin construction," Abrams said.

Initial construction will include a multi-story main building with major galleries and exhibit halls, a theater, a Veterans’ Hall, an Education Pavilion with an experiential learning center and lobby with areas for visitor reception, food service, and retail sales.

Subsequent stages of the project will expand galleries and exhibits and develop outdoor adjacencies, to include an amphitheater, parade ground and reviewing stands, and memorial garden.

"The museum will be just 16 miles south of our nation’s capital on 41 publicly accessible acres of Fort Belvoir along the Fairfax County Parkway via either US Route 1 or I-95.

It’s an "absolutely ideal location," foundation officials said.

It is also six miles from Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, "the Army’s first commander-in-chief," Abrams added.

The Army Historical Foundation establishes, assists, and promotes programs and projects which preserve the history of the American soldier and promote public understanding of and appreciation for the contributions by all components of the U.S. Army and its members.

The foundation serves as the Army’s official fundraising entity for the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army.

The museum will honor the service and sacrifice of all American soldiers who have served since the Army’s inception in 1775.

For more information on the foundation, the National Museum of the United States Army, and the Army Commemorative Coins, visit www.armyhistory.org.