American Heritage Museum
Established in 2018, this museum features an extensive collection of military vehicles including tanks along artifacts such as uniforms and weaponry arranged in dioramas and exhibits. The museum's exhibits focus on military history and range from the Revolutionary War to the present. Highlights of the museum include rare armored vehicles such as a German Panzer and a U.S. M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo, which is one of only two operable Sherma Jumbos thanks to the restoration effort of Jacques Littlefield. More than half of the displayed items are American, British, Russian, or German and are from World War I and II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, September 11, 2001, and the Global War on Terrorism.
Backstory and Context
This military history museum was established in 2018 on the grounds of the Collings Foundation. The museum offered an opening for supporters in October 2018 and the grand opening followed seven months later in May 2019. While many come to the museum for the unique collection of tanks and other large military vehicles, the museum also offers a wealth of artifacts that are chronologically displayed in such a way that visitors can experience a timeline effect as they move through the museum and see the intersection between technology and tactics and strategy. There are also exhibits that show how life changed for soldiers, officers, and support staff within the 65,000 square foot building.
The museum owes its existence to founder Jacques Littlefield, a former Hewlett Packard engineer who began collecting items in the 1980s and had a passion for sharing them Littlefield passed away in 2009, but his interest in history lives on as people visit his collection which has been valued in the tens of millions and includes over 240 military vehicles. Littlefield’s collection all started with his childhood passion for military vehicles and grew as he and supporters collected and restored jeeps, tanks, and other items.
Littlefield founded The Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in early 1998 with the objective to preserve the collection for the future. Before the museum was moved to Stow from Portola Valley, California, a mandatory donation was required before a tour of the collection was offered. Littlefield’s private collection of armored vehicles and tanks was the largest private collection in the world at the tie and the Collings Foundation was selected to receive the massive collection of Littlefield’s from his family in 2013, after his passing.
It is suggested that visitors start the tour with the brief introductory film. After the viewing, they then follow with the walk-through of the World War I Trench Experience. The collection explores major conflicts ranging from the Revolutionary War to present as well as the role of technology used throughout history. This arrangement is unique in that it arranged to provide an educational interpretation of American history through military artifacts.
The American Heritage Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2020, from https://www.americanheritagemuseum.org/
American Heritage Museum. (2019, December 16). Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Heritage_Museum
Amorasays, W., Arbysays, T., Goulbournesays, D., Samsays, Burvenichsays, S., Andersonsays, T., … Luciansays, S. (2020, January 6). M4A3E2 Jumbo Assault Tank. Retrieved February 19, 2020, from https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/m4a3e2-jumbo-assault-tank
Guzman, D. (2019, May 3). 90 Military Vehicles - From WWI To Today - Go On Display At New Mass. Museum. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.wbur.org/artery/2019/05/03/american-heritage-museum