The Museum of the Kansas National Guard became a reality on February 1, 1997, when it opened its doors for the first time. It had taken 12 years of work and $700,000 of donated money and time, but today the completed Museum sits near the main entrance of Forbes Field, home of several Kansas National Guard units.
In addition to the museum displays, library, and artifact storage, the 11,000 square-foot facility also houses the National Guard Association of Kansas, the Enlisted Association of the Kansas National Guard, and the 102nd Military History Detachment of the Kansas Army National Guard. This combination of occupants makes the Museum a true center for the preservation of the militia heritage of the Kansas Army and Air National Guard.
Inside, visitors can see displays of arms and equipment, including a collection of small arms weapons used by Kansas Guardmen and their enemies throughout history. Specific display cases have been set up for the 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion in World War II, the 69th Infantry Brigade in Vietnam, as well as several other Army and Air National Guard units.
A mock Civil War encampment, complete with artillery, provides a view of camp life in the 1860s, giving the visitor a glimpse of the uniforms and equipment used by the thousands of Kansas who volunteered for combat during the Civil War.
Weapons and other artifacts from the Spanish American War are also presented, including actual items from the famous 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, led by the heroic Medal of Honor recipient, Colonel Frederick Funston of Iola, Kansas.
The displays span the 145-year history of the organization, and includes artifacts from virtually every conflict from the Civil War to the more recent peacekeeping actions in Bosnia.
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