The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum holds a rare place among military museums. Our visitors, who tour military museums throughout the United States and Europe, tell us we are the only one dedicated to telling the story of one unit's combat history in WWII. Three floors of photographs, artifacts and personal testimonies of the veterans themselves tell the story of the 12th Armored Division.
This museum fills a void in the history of the war in Europe through the stories of a vital but often overlooked Army Division and the roles individual soldiers within it played in winning the battles in France and Germany. The majority of WWII military museums display military hardware and uniforms. They may have a video or two about D-Day or other major battles but they don't tell the stories of veterans from the perspective of the guys who were on the ground. Our photographs show what life was like for members of the US Army during WWII and make our presentation much more personal than the typical military museum exhibit.
We tell the personal stories of the men who liberated a concentration camp, what they saw and how it affected their lives. From their testimony, we are able to tell about the Holocaust from a unique perspective. Each year, the eighth grade students from the Abilene Middle Schools visit the museum to learn about the Holocaust, its causes and effects. The museum received a Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture in 2011. This grant provided the equipment needed for the museum staff to provide teleconference/webinar type live programs about the Holocaust and WWII to students anywhere in the country. We are an educational museum as well as a memorial museum to the men of the 12th Armored Division.
The museum has a seven part diorama that presents a three dimensional view of the battles at Herrlisheim, France in January, 1945. This professional display depicts the conditions the men of the division encountered as they fought the German Army during the Nordwind Offensive in which the German High Command hoped to recapture Strasbourg and the fuel, food and munitions they so desperately needed to continue the war. The actions of the 12th Armored Division to stop the German forces short of their Nordwind Offensive goals definitely shortened the war in Europe and only this museum tells that vital part of the history of WWII.
Click here to take the 2005 tour of the 12th Armored Museum
Click here to see photos from the 12th Armored Division Museum dedication.