U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
Carlisle Barracks
Department of the Army
United States Army War College
950 Soldiers Drive
Carlisle, PA 17013
Visitor Center (717) 245-3971/2 • Army Heritage Museum 245-3419

Home to the U.S. Army War College and the second oldest army post in the country, Carlisle Barracks provides a unique opportunity for visitors to explore America's military history. The base was founded in 1757 by England's Colonel John Stanwix and was first used for instruction (on Indian fighting) in 1758. The first U.S. Army educational institution, an artillery school, was also established here in 1778. Over the years ten different Army schools were located here, including the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1879 to 1918.

In 1794 George Washington assembled 14,000 troops here to quell the Whiskey Rebellion (trouble over new whiskey taxes).

In 1863 the town of Carlisle was successfully held by 21st and 22nd New York Militia Regiments who withstood repeated attacks by Confederate forces led by J.E.B. Stuart. After burning down the barracks, the Confederate forces, though unbeaten, moved on to Gettysburg.

Today the Barracks can be toured either on foot or by car. Visitors will enjoy numerous interesting sites, including various memorials and the current school buildings.

The Hessian Powder Magazine Museum was once actually a powder magazine. Inside the four-foot thick walls of this small building, visitors will find a variety of military artifacts and displays. This museum is open only one day per week, though, so be sure to call before visiting.

U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC)

This multi-faceted organization's Mission is to educate a broad audience on the heritage of the Army by acquiring, preserving and making available historical records, materials and artifacts. The AHEC Vision is to become the premiere center for US Army heritage focused on research, education and interpretation.

To these worthy ends AHEC operates a Visitor & Education Center, the Army Heritage Museum and the Military History Institute,

Visitor & Education Center
The Visitor & Education Center serves as a public educational resource for insight into the culture of the US Army and the symbol of its strength, the American Soldier, through a variety of interactive and classroom tours, continuing education, special events, workshops, and lectures.

Of the special events, probably the favorite is Army Heritage Day, featuring hundreds of military history interpreters representing soldiers from as far back as the French and Indian War up through current operations, as they recreate military history along the Army Heritage Trail.

The Heritage Trail is AHEC's outdoor museum, highlighting many of the Army's major campaigns with exhibits and periodic vignettes. Thirteen individual sites feature reconstructions of historic settings such as a section of the Antietam Battlefield, a WWI Trench System, an Omaha beachhead scene from D-Day, and many others.

Call for additional information or visit AHEC's official website, linked above.

Army Heritage Museum
Through its collections of personal items such as uniforms, letters and photographs and weapons and artillery pieces, the Army Heritage Museum presents displays that illustrate a wide range of historical periods and topics of the United States Army.

Exhibits like Entering Germany and WWI: Over There...Archived Here -- both current at the time of this writing -- and other great exhibits bring the Army Mission to life, honor our soldiers, and show how freedom is won and preserved in this world.

Military History Institute
Located in Ridgway Hall near the War College, the U.S. Army Military History Institute holds one of the largest military history libraries in the world, with nearly 300,000 volumes covering virtually every facet of US Army and military history.

Personal papers, oral history transcripts, veteran surveys from the Spanish-American War to the Cold War, extensive photo collections, audio-visual material, diaries, letters, periodicals, and much more are available at no charge for the general public and researchers. There is a service fee for copying material. This is a gold mine for anyone interested in history or the military.

A trip to Carlisle Barracks and AHEC is a trip well worth making. Visitors are sure to want to return again and again.

Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 12 noon - 5pm. The Military History Institute Library is closed Sunday. Both are open on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veteran's Day. Closed on other federal holidays. The Army Heritage Trail is open from dawn to dusk daily. Call to confirm hours.
Admission: FREE
Groups: FREE
Group Reservations: At least 1 week in advance is recommended (not required).
Lunch: Nearby restaurants (in Carlisle).
Handicapped Access: Accessible.
Directions: PA Turnpike West to Rt. 11 West (Carlisle). Go about 1½ miles south/west on 11 and turn left into college entrance on Ashburn Dr.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.