The U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center

A Cumberland Valley Guide


The numbers at U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center are impressive. The facility houses 16 million military items, 350,000 unique military history volumes and the largest collection of Civil War photography in the world. What makes USAHEC special is something much smaller and that's the individual stories that only they can tell. USAHEC focuses on telling the soldier's story, through their personal accounts, journals, and records.

What You'll Find
The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is suitable for all ages.
  • USAHEC exhibitBegin your experience at the Soldier Experience Gallery. Pick up a dog tag at the front desk and be guided through the U.S. Army experience starting with the Spanish American War and culminating in current operations in Afghanistan. Along the way, scan your dog tag to learn about your soldier's story. Older kids will love the interactive exhibits, which include a simulated shooting range, parachute drop, and Korean War night attack. This exhibit features hundreds of artifacts, smartphone interaction and the opportunity to write a letter to a soldier currently serving in operations. Be sure to come back and visit the changing exhibit located within the Gallery.
  • The exit of the Soldier Experience Gallery will land you in the museum store, where you can pick up a souvenir.
  • Then head to the second exhibit gallery which features "Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France: America in the Era of World War I." In-depth artifacts, photographs, and archival materials are exhibited in an engaging way, making visitors feel as if they were walking through the trenches. 
  • Next, move outside to the Army Heritage Trail. Kids of all ages will love exploring the mile-long outdoor trail which is dotted with full-scale military exhibits. USAHEC Soldier's Experience ExhibitMarvel at the size of Army machinery like tanks and helicopters as you stand beside them. Navigate through the WWI trench and check out the propaganda posters in the WWII Mess Hall.
  • Ridgway Hall is perfect for the history buff. Whether you are diving into history to fulfill your curiosity or assisting in writing a novel, the library archives in this preeminent research facility are packed with over 14 million items, including the largest collection of Civil War photos in the world. On your way to Ridgway Hall, you'll pass by the new exhibit titled Enter the War on Terrorism. Visitors will "enter" an aircraft, then arrive at a "briefing" later in the hallway. This exhibit is directly tied to current operations.
  • The General Omar N. Bradley Memorial Art Gallery is a chance to reflect on the impact of a soldier's experiences on their current life through painting. Many of the opening receptions include a visit from the artist and an explanation of their interpretations. This programming is suitable for adults.
  • The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (commonly referred to as USAHEC) is the United States Army's preeminent museum and research complex. They are dedicated to educating and preserving the legacy of the men and women who have served their nation as soldiers.AHEC Trail-700
  • The Military History Institute, inside USAHEC, is the primary facility where researchers study Army history and official and unofficial patrons are welcome.
  • The USAHEC Visitor & Education Center is dedicated to educating the public about the culture of the U.S. Army and the American Soldier by providing visitors with classroom tours, continuing education programs, special events, workshops, and lectures.
  • The USAHEC Army Heritage Center acquires, preserves, exhibits and interprets the artifacts of the United States Army and the men and women who served that Army at home and abroad.
  • Outside of USAHEC lies the mile-long outdoor interpretive Army Heritage Trail. This trail features full-scale military exhibits ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern times.
U.S. Army War College & Carlisle Barracks
  • Today, U.S. Army War College instructors teach officers the latest techniques in warfare; 250-years ago Colonel Henry Bouquet trained British and Provincial troops in Indian-fighting techniques.
  • The Carlisle Barracks maintains more than 100 historic buildings, 22 of which are listed in the National Historic Register. Take a self-guided tour of the Barracks. Brochures are available for purchase at History on High in downtown Carlisle.
  • Olympian Jim Thorpe, along with 10,000 other American Indian children, attended the controversial Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1879 to 1918. Visit the Carlisle Indian School Cemetery on the grounds of the Carlisle Barracks.

You can walk through hundreds of museums and learn about every war that was ever fought but to truly go back in time and understand the impact, importance, and dedication of the U.S. Army you need to hear the stories from those who experienced it.