Silver lining? You can still take a virtual sneak peek inside.

Summer 2020 was slated to be a big one for the United States Army. The nation’s oldest military branch, which celebrates its 245th birthday in June, looked forward to finally opening its flagship museum in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the very same month. Unfortunately, Covid-19 beat them to the punch—and now, in response to the global public health threat, the National Museum of the United States Army will no longer open on June 4 as originally scheduled.

The long-anticipated landmark will receive guests at an undecided future date, “when the conditions can ensure the health and safety of museum visitors and staff, and the museum is ready to begin daily operations,” officials shared via a news release. Construction, mainly interior, will progress according to health and safety guidelines.

Located approximately 20 miles outside Washington, D.C., the Army Museum is now close to complete following more than 3 ½ years of construction and even more years of planning. The 185,000-square-foot building is made from over one million pounds of stainless steel, a material that symbolizes the soldier’s strength.

Inside the museum, gallery displays range from life-size recreations of historical moments, like the 1944 Normandy landing, to sections exploring the Army’s contributions to science, technology, and math. Artifacts already in place include a Higgins boat from D-Day, an M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle that led the 2003 charge from Kuwait to Baghdad, and an M4A3E2 Sherman “Jumbo” Tank from World War II. Together, these elements pay homage to pivotal figures and events while still chronicling the Army’s full history.

The Army is the U.S. military’s oldest branch, but it’s one of the last to receive its own national museum—and now, military history buffs have to sit tight just a little longer before experiencing it in person. Silver lining? They can still take a virtual sneak peek while quarantining in place: 

This recreated World War I trench is based on an iconic photo taken of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the American Expeditionary Forces’ largest largest wartime operation and one of the deadliest campaigns in U.S. history. (National Museum of the United States Army, Duane Lempke)
This recreated World War I trench is based on an iconic photo taken of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the American Expeditionary Forces’ largest largest wartime operation and one of the deadliest campaigns in U.S. history. (National Museum of the United States Army, Duane Lempke)

 

 Named the “Napoleon” after French emperor Napoleon III, this powerful bronze smoothbore once fired large, round projectiles weighing more than 12 pounds and measuring nearly 5 inches. (National Museum of the United States Army, Duane Lempke)
Named the “Napoleon” after French emperor Napoleon III, this powerful bronze smoothbore once fired large, round projectiles weighing more than 12 pounds and measuring nearly 5 inches. (National Museum of the United States Army, Duane Lempke)

 

Created by Louisiana boat builder Andrew Higgins, this eponymous plywood boat helped win D-Day by landing more Allied troops in Europe and the Pacific than the combined efforts of all other landing crafts. It held up to 36 combat-loaded troops or a jeep and a dozen men, and was designed to slide ashore so it could quickly unload troops down its front ramp before pivoting back into the water. (National Museum of the United States Army)
Created by Louisiana boat builder Andrew Higgins, this eponymous plywood boat helped win D-Day by landing more Allied troops in Europe and the Pacific than the combined efforts of all other landing crafts. It held up to 36 combat-loaded troops or a jeep and a dozen men, and was designed to slide ashore so it could quickly unload troops down its front ramp before pivoting back into the water. (National Museum of the United States Army)

The museum’s lobby pays tribute to the Army’s 190 campaigns with illuminated glass panels, streamers, and a commemorative wall listing each U.S. Army battle. (National Museum of the United States Army, Scott Metzler)
The museum’s lobby pays tribute to the Army’s 190 campaigns with illuminated glass panels, streamers, and a commemorative wall listing each U.S. Army battle. (National Museum of the United States Army, Scott Metzler)

 

Free to the public, the Army will be open 364 days a year (it’s closed on Christmas) via timed-entry ticket. Stay in the loop by visiting its website.