The American Heritage Museum takes visitors on a journey through time

American Heritage Museum President Rob Collings stands with young patrons marveling at the ‘Clash of Steel’ exhibit at the American Heritage Museum. (Picture/submitted)

HUDSON – History is at your fingertips everywhere you look at the American Heritage Museum in Hudson.

At the museum, exhibits featuring military tanks, historic aircraft, and classic cars provide visitors with an unforgettable interactive experience.

“We strive to engage people in the story and inspire them to want to know more,” Marketing and Communications Director Hunter Chaney said in a recent interview. “When people come here, they see that it’s unique. There is nothing like it in the country. »

The 66,000 square foot museum officially opened in the summer of 2019. It was created by the Collings Foundation, which has presented interactive history-related exhibits and shows locally and across the country since 1979.

The museum traces war conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the present day and houses several tanks and artifacts that are the only ones on public display in North America.

“As a relatively new museum, after the hit of COVID, we were basically closed until 2020 and only opened on a limited basis in 2021,” Chaney explained. “So far this year we have been able to stretch our wings a bit. We aim to specialize in the exploitation of historical artifacts and want to impress a tactile sense of history through our museum experience.

When a visitor enters the museum, one of the most impactful exhibits they will encounter is the building’s War Clouds exhibit, which explores the rise of fascism, the incursion of Imperial Japan, and the eventual attack on Pearl. Harbor during World War II.

“When people see how exhibits are laid out chronologically throughout World War II, they are flabbergasted and their jaws drop,” Chaney said.

Through these exhibits, visitors can view a variety of rare relics such as the last surviving example of the Type 4 Ho-Ro tank, which fought as part of the 2nd Tank Division with the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army during the Philippine campaign during World War. The last year of II.

Captured on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, the Ho-Ro Tank is on loan to the museum from the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

All vehicles and artifacts in the museum have been restored to appear as they were when originally used in combat.

“People can see what tanks looked like from World War I through the Gulf and Iraq wars,” Chaney said, noting that the museum also offers WWII tank driving instruction programs. world.

“When you’re driving a tank, you can experience what a young soldier might have seen,” Chaney said.

Speaking of young visitors, it’s part of the museum’s mission to pass on knowledge to the next generation. As a result, each museum exhibit is aligned with Massachusetts Education Standards.

“We’ve worked with teachers to provide tours for students that are related to the material they’re teaching in the classroom,” Chaney said. “We strive to be a real tool and resource for schools in the region. There are so many things in history that we need to pay attention to and our museum is a center of discovery for that.

Throughout this summer and into the fall, the museum will host several living history events as part of its effort to provide interactive experiences.

In October, the museum will then host its biggest event, the World War II Airfield Battle Reenactment, which attracts over 350 re-enactors to take part in two “battles” a day.

For more detailed information about these events and the museum in general, go to www.americanheritagemuseum.org.

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