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The U.S. Army Ordnance Museum is a museum that is in the process of being re-located to Fort Lee, outside Petersburg, Virginia. Its previous building—at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland—was closed in September 2010, although many outdoor exhibits are still accessible to the public.
The mission of the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum is to acquire, preserve, and exhibit historically significant equipment, armaments and materiel that relates to the history of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps and to document and present the evolution and development of U.S. military ordnance material dating from the American Colonial Period to present day.
Established in 1919 and officially opened to the public in 1924, to exhibit captured enemy equipment and materiel, the Museum was located in Building 314 of the Aberdeen Proving Ground and operated by the U.S. Army until 1967. Co-location with APG provided convenient access to the equipment being delivered to APG for testing after World War I. In 1965 local citizens formed the tax-free Ordnance Museum Foundation, Inc. to establish and operate a museum of these military artifacts. The Foundation is not affiliated with the U.S. Army, nor the Department of Defense. The Foundation began operation of the Museum in the early 1970s, upon opening in Building 2601 on the Aberdeen Proving Ground (until its closing in September 2010) and operates the Ordnance Museum until this day.
In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law was passed by Congress. One of BRAC's requirements was the relocation of the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School headquarters, the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School, and the Ordnance Museum to Fort Lee by the end 2011. The transfer of artifacts from Aberdeen to Fort Lee began in August 2009.
As of September 2010, the museum itself (indoors) is closed to all visitors while it is relocated to Fort Lee, but the outdoor displays with the remaining vehicles is open to visitors seven days a week, from 9:00am until 4:45pm. As of July 1, 2012, about 80% of the outdoor exhibits have been transferred to Fort Lee. The remaining exhibits at Aberdeen Proving Grounds are still accessible to the public. The Anzio Annie twin has been transferred. Visitors may request a pass from the Visitor's Center at the Rt. 715 East gate of the Aberdeen Proving Ground. This pass entitles the bearer to drive directly to and from the museum area only. As the display is on an active military base, one needs to have their vehicle's registration (or rental documents). Each adult 16 years and older will need to have a driver's license or picture ID. Children under 16 will not need to have such documentation. Foreign nationals are allowed to visit on a passport.
The outdoor collection features those vehicles and artillery not yet transferred from World War I era forward.
As of July 2013 most of the outdoor exhibit (+90%) have been moved to Fort Lee Virginia and the museum is closed. Items in Fort Lee are stored and not open to the public.
Sample outdoor exhibit artifacts include (not all-inclusive):
The indoor portion of the Ordnance Museum contains a large collection of firearms, shells, hand grenades, cartridges, and educational displays. Numerous examples of artillery and mortars are on display, as is a 1942 Jeep and a M5 Stuart tank equipped with the "Rhino" Culin cutter for use in hedgerows.
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