9. The room consists of dozens of collapsable “hallways” filled with the richest American firearm collection on the planet.
20. The massive collection consists of donated and commissioned pieces. Much of the art was painted by soldiers who experienced their subjects in real life.
During World War I, the Army began commissioning artists to deploy into the war zone and paint the scenes they observed. This practice has continued to this day. Much of the museum’s collection consists of these commissioned wartime pieces. The collection also keeps hold of valuable donated military art and historical pieces dating back to the Mexican American War.
23. Some works are just beautiful beyond words.
32. Including beautiful Norman Rockwell originals that the Army commissioned in the 1940s.
41. Including watercolors painted by Hitler himself.
At the age of 18, Adolf Hitler applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna but was rejected. A number of Hitler’s paintings were seized by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II and found a home at the center. None of the confiscated Nazi art has ever been displayed, and the curators thought them too controversial for this piece. The scene above was filmed at the center for the documentary The Rape of Europa.
44. The Army Historical Foundation is in charge of raising the funds for the museum.
However, there are major fundraising hurdles to jump before the museum can be built. The foundation’s president recently told the Washington Post that it has raised $76 million of the $175 million required for the museum and predicts the museum could open in 2018. The plan is to build the museum at Fort Belvoir.
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