11th Armored Cavalry Museum
Fort Irwin, CA
Military Museum of History
By Edwin Rodriguez
As soon as one walks into the 11th AC Museum one knows it’s a military museum. Dozens of mannequins dressed in army uniforms swarm the displays of historical scenarios which take one through the regiment’s history. The dramatic images are similar to what one would find in a history book on warfare and the contingency conflicts the 11th AC, and US, have been involved in. Since the military has a tendency to show its pride and its accomplishments, just about every base has some kind of military related/ historical museum. This one happens to be on the specialty of Fort Irwin: training troops. Ever since the Vietnam era Fort Irwin has been the location for troops to stop by prior to mobilization. Even today, troops continue to go through Fort Irwin before going to the Middle East. The Museum portrays much of its information through its panoramas but additionally has real video footage and photographs of the events it covers. In many instances the uniforms, gear and other props in the displays are genuine battlefield memorabilia.
The historical journey takes one through much of the history of the state of California. The dawn of European settlers in California is where the displays begin, where soldiers had to travel uniformed so as not to alarm Spanish-Mexicans. The industrialization of America and hunt for natural resources in the west captured the attention of many looking to improve their economic situation. Before the storm of settlers moved west however, the government ran a project to survey possible routes for roads and railroads, both of which are icons of the era. The museum contains a display of early soldiers in the mid-19th century traveling by camels in an effort to support engineers survey the Mojave Desert. Another display shows the nature of settler- Native American relations which were rough to say the least.
Jumping forward in history, the museum displays...