The Texas Military Forces Museum is located near the parade grounds at Camp Mabry. I have always wondered about this museum while sitting in Mopac traffic, so I was glad to finally visit. The base’s entrance is actually on West 35th Street, but the guards will direct visitors over to the museum building.
The museum traces the history of Texan military forces since the first militia was created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823. Texas currently has three military branches: the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard. All are represented in the museum’s displays.
A small army of military vehicles are packed into the 45,000 square-foot building: lots of jeeps, trucks, and support vehicles, two helicopters, some tanks (including a German Hetzer), and even a Piper Cub airplane.
Even if you’re not into military history, there’s lots of random-but-interesting stuff to learn here. Who knew that Texas had a Navy? Yep…back in the 1800s, when Texas was a Republic. How are field kitchens organized? See for yourself in the mess truck. Why were German Hetzer tanks still used after World War II? Because they were built like a tank.
Some unusual collections have been donated to the museum. For example, their conference room walls are lined with cases and cases of US Army insignia.
Another collection of over 600 metal toy soldiers and vehicles from the 1930s is on display.
The Texas Military Forces Museum is a popular destination for scout and school groups, but is really a pleasant way for anyone to spend an afternoon. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
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