By Jonathan LeBlanc , Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:
(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 22, 2017)
Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day activities of present-day Fort Bliss that you forget to learn about the installation’s history.
The Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museum has been here since 1948, and it is a great resource to learn about the contributions of Fort Bliss Soldiers throughout the years. The museum began in what is now the Old Fort Bliss Replica Cultural Center at 5054 Pershing Road, but due to lack of climate control and space, officials moved the museum to an old service club. Even still, the museum needed more space, so in 1999 the museum relocated again into the old Post Exchange.
“The space does have its limitation due to it being a retail space, but the location does have 11-foot ceilings, and that helps with us being able to showcase tanks and aircraft, and that’s what we do,” said John Hamilton, the museum’s director.
The museum also has a space to hold ceremonies that will seat roughly 420 guests, as well as an auditorium that will seat about 180 guests, Hamilton said. Both are inside and climate controlled.
In addition, the museum features an area for children where they can color and look at a selection of uniforms and mock weapons.
“Our primary mission here at the museum is to support the Soldier and the family,” Hamilton said.
Last year, more than 93,000 guests visited to learn about the history of Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division, Hamilton said.
One of the new features Hamilton is working on is converting a portion of the museum into a reception area.
“When we host ceremonies, the guests want to bring in food and beverages, and obviously that is against regulation because of the artifacts and exhibits we have here. We are currently renovating the room, which we hope to have open and available soon,” Hamilton said.
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 568-5412 or visit www.bliss.army.mil/Museum.