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Must-visit military museums and memorials

Relive the stories of history’s greatest conflicts through the eyes of the soldiers and everyday heroes who were there.

Credit: Missouri Division of Tourism

A trip through Mississippi River Country is a trip through the history of America. These eye-opening museums and memorials tell the story of some of history’s greatest conflicts through the eyes of the soldiers and everyday heroes who lived through these trying times.

National World War II Museum

Billed as New Orleans #1 attraction—and one of the world’s best museums—by TripAdvisor, the National World War II Museum offers immersive exhibits, a 4-D cinematic presentation, and more at its sprawling campus in downtown New Orleans. Read the stories of the soldiers and citizens who fought through World War II, marvel at authentic planes and vehicles, and travel through the landmark events in “the war to end all wars.”

National World War I Museum and Memorial

The National World War I Museum and Memorial, located in downtown Kansas City, houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents. This state-of-the-art museum opened in 2006 and takes visitors through exhibits that tell stories of courage, honor and sacrifice made by the brave soldiers and survivors of the Great War.

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

“Remember the past, transform the future.” That’s the motto of this 65,000-square-foot museum that opened in Skokie in 2009 and tells the stories of the Holocaust’s victims and survivors through special exhibits and educational programs. The museum—recognized as the third-largest Holocaust museum in the world—offers an unforgettable trip through life before, during and after the Holocaust.

Other sites to visit:

  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History (Little Rock): This museum, located in the Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal (where Gen. Douglas MacArthur was born in 1888), tells the story of the Arkansas men and women who served in the Armed Forces
  • Chennault Aviation and Military Museum (Monroe, La.): This unique museum—named for Gen. Claire Chenault of the famed “Flying Tigers”—features collections and artifacts from military campaigns from the first World War through Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum: Originally opened in 1995, this facility is undergoing a major renovation to expand its educational offerings and exhibits that help visitors’ understanding of the Holocaust
  • First Division Museum at Cantigny: This museum, located at scenic Cantigny Park in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, shares the history of the 1st Infantry Division (the first permanent fivision in the regular US Army), which has seen action in almost every Americna war since 1917