Originally, A World War II era tank and machine gun nest greeted visitors to the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History, a two-story building packed with interesting exhibits on each of the military actions in which Medals of Honor have been awarded. Since our first visit in the 1990's, the museum has relocated from Georgia Avenue in downtown Chattanooga to Northgate Mall.
Initially the museum was a series of displays at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium in Chattanooga. With help from the city, the museum began operation in downtown in 1991. A permanent home was to be established near the Incline Railway but those plans did not materialize.
An eight-minute film tells the story of the Medal of Honor. Visitors can browse through more than 150 years of United States military history, starting with "The Great Locomotive Chase," whose members were the first awardees of the medal.
The museum encompasses more than just the men and woman to whom the medal has been awarded. For example, a World War I display illustrates life in the trenches of this devastating conflict. Armor, headgear, weapons, even items from everyday military life make up a majority of the displays which include information on the Civil War, various Indian Wars, The Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and Viet Nam.