By Brett Peruzzi, Contributing Writer
Hudson – The struggle with the coronavirus continues, but the nation’s battle history will still be honored at an upcoming event in Hudson.
On the weekend of Oct. 10-11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the American Heritage Museum will host “Military History Through the Ages” – an outdoor living history exhibition. The event features military reenactors with displays of authentic equipment from the Revolutionary War through the present. Veterans from various ranks and service branches will participate in discussions around each encampment. The museum, which features one of the largest collection of tanks and other armored vehicles in the country, will also be open for the weekend.
Due to the continuing restrictions, this event is replacing the museum’s annual “Battle for the Air Field” recreation, with a strong emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of both encampment participants and attendees.
“The program will be spread out over the expanse of the museum and foundation grounds,” said Hunter Chaney, director of marketing for the Collings Foundation, which runs the museum. “Foot traffic through the museums and grounds will be regulated and timed in intervals. Under Phase 3 guidelines there is a limit to how many can visit, which we will control through ticketing, head counters, and foot traffic control in each major area.”
Visitors and staff are required to wear face masks in all indoor buildings and displays and outdoors in encampments where social distancing is not possible, Chaney added.
According to Chaney, the most extensive display at the encampment will be for World War II.
“WWII was the worst, most terrible conflict ever,” he explained. “The history of it gives all of us a direct recipe of how democracies fall and how a war of this awful scale is started. Aside from WWII, I am very excited to have Revolutionary and Civil War encampments. This is a first for us.”
In addition, the entire grounds will be open, including a classic car barn and historic aviation hangar. The car barn contains a collection of 25 rare automobiles from 1901 through 1935 and the aviation hangar holds 10 vintage light aircraft from 1909 through WWII.
“We are very excited to debut a very rare WWII L-4 Grasshopper aircraft called ‘Rosie the Rocketer,’” Chaney enthused. “There’s an amazing history behind this reconnaissance aircraft. Flown by pilot Charles Carpenter, he strapped bazooka rockets to this plane and ended up dispatching several German tanks during his missions over Europe.”
A unique experience that attendees will be offered is the chance to be instructed and drive one of two models of WWII vintage tanks. For a tax-deduction eligible donation of $995 for the M24 Chaffee model tank, or $1,495 for the M4A3 Sherman model tank, participants will receive 40 minutes of instruction and 20 minutes of driving time.
“The tank driving experience has been very popular,” Chaney noted. “The instructor and trainee run over the history of the tanks and general operation procedures. The trainee will be able to drive the tanks through a series of turns and obstacles. The experience is truly remarkable.”
Visitors are welcome to sign up for a tank driving experience on arrival, although Chaney recommended booking in advance.
While Chaney acknowledged that this program was created because of current restrictions, it may not be a one-time event.
“We hope to continue this program in future years in addition to the ‘Battle for the Airfield’ reenactment,” he said, “once the pandemic subsides.”
Admission for adults is $25; veterans and seniors, $20; children under 12, $15. WWII and Korean War veterans and children under age 3 are free. For more information and advance ticket sales, visit www.americanheritagemuseum.org.