American Heritage Museum
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American Heritage Museum

The American Heritage Museum is a military history museum located on the grounds of the Collings Foundation in the town of Stow, Massachusetts, 21 miles west of Boston. The collection consists of over 100 artifacts, most of which were formerly part of Jacques Littlefield's Military Vehicle Technology Foundation collection in Silicon Valley[1]. Over half of the items on display are from the World War II era, but World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq War, and September 11, 2001 and the War on Terrorism are also represented. Most of the items on display are American, German, Russian, or British in origin.[2]

History

Beginning in the early 1980s and continuing for the next 20 years, Littlefield, a Stanford University graduate and former Hewlett Packard engineer, amassed a $30 million collection of military vehicles and engaged in a program of restoring many of them and giving educational tours to the public.[3][1] By the time of Littlefield's premature death in 2009,[4] his collection had expanded to over 240 vehicles.[5] In accordance with his objective of preserving the collection for the future, the Foundation donated its collection to the Collings Foundation, a non-profit educational institution founded in 1979[6] with a mission dedicated to the preservation and public display of transportation-related history. The Collings Foundation then auctioned off[7] 120 of the vehicles, netting $9.5 million[8] to fund creation of a new 69,000-square-foot[6] museum to display the remaining 80 items in the collection at the Collings Foundation headquarters in the Boston area.[1]

Meanwhile, in August 2015, the Planning Board of the Town of Stow initially rejected the Foundation's application to build the museum[9], questioning the propriety of locating such a large facility on land that was zoned for residential use. In its defense, the Foundation cited Massachusetts' Dover Amendment, which the Foundation believed would exempt the museum from zoning restrictions, on the grounds that its purpose would be primarily educational in nature. [10][8] Ultimately, an agreement was reached between the two parties in July 2017,[6] and construction of the museum was completed in 2018. The museum held a preview opening in October, 2018[11] and had its grand opening in May, 2019.[12][13][14][15]

Exhibits

Visitors are encouraged to begin their tour with the viewing of a brief introductory film, followed by the immersive walk-through of the "WWI Trench Experience" room containing a recreation of Western Front trenches at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, the first and only offensive launched solely by the United States Army in World War I. Visitors next enter the "War Clouds" room, which covers the Interwar period and the rise of Nazi Germany. They then exit to the main cavernous display room of the museum, in which artifacts are arranged roughly chronologically and grouped under major campaigns and theaters of war.

Some of the major artifacts currently on display are as follows:[2]

Leichter Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 222 German armored scout car
M5A1 Stuart VI light tank
Volkswagen Kübelwagen Type 82 German reconnaissance car
Volkswagen Schwimmwagen Type 166 German amphibious personnel carrier
Sd.Kfz. 2 Kleines Kettenkrad German personnel carrier
StuG III Ausf. G Tank Destroyer
M16 Half Track personnel carrier
150cm Flakscheinwerfer German anti-aircraft searchlight
JB-2 Loon flying bomb (in German V-1 paint scheme)
M8 Greyhound armored car
Artifact Type Country of origin Campaign/theater Notes
Ford Model T ambulance  USA WWI Trench Experience
M1917 light tank  USA WWI Trench Experience
Panzer I. A tank  Nazi Germany War Clouds
Vickers Mk. IV light tank  USA War Clouds The only one on public display in the U.S.
Mercedes G4 staff car  USA War Clouds
M4A1 Sherman (Grizzly I) tank  USA Arsenal of Democracy
Sherman turret trainer  USA Arsenal of Democracy
M3 Lee medium tank  USA North Africa
Matilda MK.II tank  UK North Africa The only one on public display in North America
Sd.Kfz. 10 1-Ton personnel carrier/prime mover  Nazi Germany North Africa The only one on public display in the U.S.
Leichter Panzerspähwagen Sd.Kfz. 222 armored scout car  Nazi Germany North Africa One of only two intact SdKfz 222 in the world and the only one on public display in North America
7.5 cm Pak 40 anti-tank gun  Nazi Germany North Africa The only one on public display in the U.S.
M3A1 scout car  USA Italian Campaign
M5A1 Stuart VI light tank  USA Italian Campaign
VW Kübelwagen Type 82 reconnaissance car  Nazi Germany Italian Campaign
VW Schwimmwagen Type 166 amphibious personnel carrier  Nazi Germany Italian Campaign
T-34/76 tank  Soviet Union Eastern Front The only one on public display in North America
Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D half-track armored personnel carrier  Nazi Germany Eastern Front One of only two on display in the U.S.
Sd.Kfz. 2 Kleines Kettenkrad half-track personnel carrier  Nazi Germany Eastern Front
Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G tank destroyer  Nazi Germany Eastern Front The only running StuG IIIin North America, with $1M of restoration work
Borgward IV demolition vehicle  Nazi Germany Eastern Front One of only four in the world, and the only one on display in North America
T-34/85 tank  Soviet Union Clash of Steel The only one on display in North America
Panzer V "Panther" Ausf. A tank  Nazi Germany Clash of Steel The only one on display in North America[16]
LCVP "Higgins Boat" landing craft  USA D-Day The one on display is a survivor of the Normandy D-Day invasion
Churchill Crocodile flame thrower tank  UK D-Day One of only two on display in the U.S.
Cromwell I tank  UK D-Day One of only two in the U.S.
Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer tank destroyer  Nazi Germany Battle of the Bulge
M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbo" tank  USA Battle of the Bulge The only one on public display in North America; participated in the Battle of the Bulge
M16 Half Track multiple gun motor carriage  USA Battle of the Bulge
M22 Locust airborne tank  USA Crossing the Rhine
M18 Hellcat tank destroyer  USA Crossing the Rhine
A34 Comet cruiser tank  UK Crossing the Rhine The only one on display in the U.S.
IS-2 Iosef Stalin tank  Soviet Union Battle for Berlin The only IS-2 on display in North America; served in the Battle for Berlin
SU-100 tank destroyer  Soviet Union Battle for Berlin One of only two on display in the U.S.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 fighter aircraft  Nazi Germany Battle for Berlin
Sd.Kfz. 8 12 ton personnel carrier/prime mover  Nazi Germany Defense of the Reich The only one on display in the U.S.; appeared in the film The Dirty Dozen
Kommandogerät 40 anti-aircraft battery rangefinder computer  Nazi Germany Defense of the Reich One of only three in the world and the only one on public display in North America
150cm Flakscheinwerfer anti-aircraft battery searchlight  Nazi Germany Defense of the Reich
JB-2 Loon (in V-1 paint scheme) flying bomb  Nazi Germany Defense of the Reich
M8 Greyhound armored car  USA Liberation
LVT(A)-4 landing vehicle  USA Pacific War The only one on public display in the U.S.
M4A3 Sherman tank  USA Pacific War
M29C Weasel personnel carrier  USA Pacific War
Daimler Dingo Mk1 armored personnel carrier  UK Pacific War
Type 4 Ho-Ro self-propelled gun  Japan Pacific War Captured in the Philippines and is the only one left in the world
M7 Priest self-propelled howitzer  USA Korean War
M26A1 Pershing tank  USA Korean War
M24 Chaffee light tank  USA Korean War
M39 armored utility vehicle  USA Korean War
M2A1 half track scout vehicle  USA Korean War
M4A3E8 76W HVSS Sherman tank  USA Korean War
M41 Walker Bulldog light tank  USA Vietnam War
M48 Patton tank  USA Vietnam War
PT-76 amphibious tank  Soviet Union Vietnam War
T72G tank  Soviet Union Cold War
M551 Sheridan amphibious tank  USA Gulf War
M60A1 tank  USA Gulf War
T-55 tank  Iraq Gulf War
MAZ-7310 missile launcher  Iraq Gulf War The only one on display in North America
Scud-B missile  Iraq Gulf War The only one on display in North America
2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer  Iraq Gulf War Captured by the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm
M1A1 Abrams tank  USA War on Terrorism The only one on public display in the world. This is the M1A1 commanded by US Marine Sgt George M. Ulloa, which on August 2, 2006 was hit by two IED's in Al Anbar Province, fatally injuring Sgt Ulloa.[17][12]
QinetiQ TALON tracked robot  USA War on Terrorism
iRobot PackBot tracked robot  USA War on Terrorism

The museum also includes a section of the Berlin Wall, and a September 11 memorial featuring a twisted steel beam from one of the World Trade Center towers. The steel beam was dedicated in a ceremony at the museum on September 11, 2018.[18]

See also

Tank museums
American military museums
Other resources

References

  1. ^ a b c "Silicon Valley tank collection heading east to The Collings Foundation in Stow". The Springfield Republican. AP. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Collings Foundation American Heritage Museum Collection". 23 January 2019.
  3. ^ Greg Beato (26 October 2012). "A Collector's Legacy of War Machines in Repose". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ "Military tank collector Jacques Littlefield dies". Palo Alto Online. 14 January 2009. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "Introduction to our Collection". Military Vehicle Technology Foundation (MVTF). Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Strohl, Daniel (30 August 2018). "Last of Littlefield tank collection arrives ahead of American Heritage Museum's opening". Hemmings. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Jordan Golson (16 July 2014). "A bunch of war buffs just dropped $10M on an arsenal of old tanks". Wired. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ a b Strohl, Daniel (5 August 2015). "Plans for museum to house the ex-Littlefield military vehicle collection stalled". Hemmings. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Sweeney, Emily (31 August 2015). "Proposed military museum is voted down in Stow". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Needle, Ann (29 July 2015). "Planning Board Wrestles with Collings Museum Application ..." The Stow Independent. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Jeff Malachowski (4 October 2018). "Living History: The Collings Foundation will host a WWII re-enactment and veterans roundtable". Wicked Local. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ a b Dan Guzman (3 May 2019). "90 Military Vehicles -- From WWI To Today -- Go On Display At New Mass. Museum". WBUR. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Jonathan Phelps (2 May 2019). "American Heritage Museum celebrates grand opening". Worcester Telegram. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "Bringing history to life". Community Advocate. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ Emily Greenwood (29 April 2019). "American Heritage Museum - Special Preview May 1 - Grand Opening May 2nd". Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ Pierre-Olivier (3 April 2019). "Surviving Panther Tanks" (PDF). Surviving Panzers. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "Collecting and Restoring the Past for the Future" (PDF). National Museum of the Marine Corps. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ Jonathan Phelps (12 September 2018). "Collings Foundation in Stow dedicates 9/11 steel in new museum". The MetroWest Daily News. Retrieved 2019.

External links


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