This newly camouflage-painted World War I tank greets visitors as they enter the Virginia War Museum. The 6-ton machine held two crew members and had a top speed of 5.5 mph. It was armed with a machine gun. (Joe Fudge / Daily Press / October 31, 2013)
When it comes to the business of war and national defense, no part of the United States has a longer or deeper record than Hampton Roads.
Even before Washington’s victory at Yorktown ensured the independence of a country that has fought in more than 20 major conflicts since 1781, the region was a critical British colonial base that clashed with two powerful Dutch fleets during the late 1600s and launched the French and Indian War in 1754.
Among the treasures found in Virginia War Museum's collection is this section of fence from Dachau concentration camp, which opened in 1933. It was donated to the museum by Gen. Jacob L. Devers, whose command liberated Dachau on April 29, 1945. (Joe Fudge / Daily Press / October 31, 2013)
Not until after the end of World War I, however, did a former Army major who had helped ship more than 260,000 doughboys to Europe from Newport News recognize how profoundly that military connection had shaped the region.
And 90 years after George B. Collings and the American Legion put their first relics on display, the collection of nearly 70,000 objects at the Virginia War Museum is widely recognized by military historians as both a revealing reflection of Hampton Roads and a national treasure.
“This is one of the finest military history collections in the country — without a doubt — but what makes it important in Hampton Roads is what it tells us about the history and character of the region,” says former museum director John V. Quarstein, describing the achievements to be celebrated today in a 90th anniversary program.
“This is one of the most important places in the country in terms of preparing for, waging and winning overseas wars, and that partnership with the military has defined us socially, politically and economically since World War I. We would not be who and what we are today without it.”
You can read more about the remarkable development of the Virginia War Museum when the complete story appears in Sunday's paper.
Here's what you need to know about the free anniversary program slated for Sunday afternoon.
Also included, the schedule for the Veterans Day program at the Victory Arch in Newport News, which played an integral role in inspiring the founders of the museum 90 years ago.
Want to go?
90th Anniversary of the Virginia War Museum
Where: 9285 Warwick Blvd., Newport News
When: 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10
Information: 757-247-8523 or www.warmuseum.org
Monday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m.
Sponsored by American Legion, Braxton-Perkins Post #25, this annual ceremony is held at the Victory Arch, 25th Street and West Avenue, in downtown Newport News. After the ceremony, the public is invited to learn about America's rich military heritage at the Virginia War Museum. Visit the museum on Veterans Day and receive $1 off the posted admission prices.
This World War II war bond poster featuring a black aviator from the famed Tuskegee airmen is part of the Virginia War Museum's nationally admired collection of posters, which ranges from World War I to Vietnam. (Daily Press / February 2, 2005)