Vermont National Guard Logo

Library & Museum History

Museum History

A history presented by our president Ron Crisman

Dear Friend:

Since its founding in the 1970's, the Vermont National Guard Library and Museum has made tremendous strides in preserving our state's proud military heritage. The collection has grown from a few items to a large facility and grounds housing many one-of-a-kind items, including vehicles, tanks, and several aircraft.

Through the efforts of dedicated volunteers, we have successfully moved and "recycled" old buildings, remodeling them into first-class exhibit space. We occupy a premier location at the entrance to Camp Johnson in Colchester and are open to the general public plus special events for private groups with an interest in learning or promoting military history.

Some of the exhibits currently on display include a variety of vehicles and Vermont militia uniforms going back to the 18th century. We also have War of 1812, Civil War, World War One & Two, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm artifacts for all to see. The Hall of Heroes includes uniforms and displays from several Vermonters, such as our state's first 4-Star General, Wallace M. Greene, Jr. – 23rd Commandant of the USMC.

The World War One exhibit is complete with the restored "40 & 8" railroad car given to the people of Vermont by France for our state's efforts and losses in the trenches of Europe. A captured WWI German cannon, various weaponry, uniforms, and amazing large-scale model planes all enhance this unique exhibit.

Work on Phase III was just completed and for the first time since 1914, the massive 1888 Civil War painting by Vermont artist Charles Hardin Andrus of Enosburg has been placed on permanent display. At 17' by 28', "Sheridan's Ride" was the largest oil painting in North America at the time of its completion in 1900. The scene depicts General Phil Sheridan galloping onto the field of battle at Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864 as he rallies the Vermont troops who then quickly turn the tide of battle and save the day for the Union.

All of these tremendous advances have been accomplished through the efforts of a small group of dedicated volunteers. From 1996 when we moved to the current location, we have expanded, recycled and built a large complex through thousands of hours of volunteer labor, donated materials, and contributions. Just to complete the new wing, known as "Phase III," it has taken over three years of continual volunteer labor.

Future plans call for an expanded library for our vast collection of written materials and shelter for some of our unique wheeled and tracked military vehicles dating from the Spanish-American War.

We want to invite you to visit the museum and strongly encourage you to volunteer a small piece of your time to help us expand our hours and reach out to the public more effectively. Vermont has a strong and important military history that you can help to ensure is never forgotten.

If you can volunteer time or skills, please call us. Currently, we are open only on Tuesday due to a lack of volunteers but the dream is expand to three days per week. We continually expand through the donations of artifacts – please consider us before disposing of old uniforms, documents, etc.

If you have skills that can help the museum to grow, please volunteer. We have needs as diverse as changing the oil in one of our Jeeps to painting aircraft to carpentry to creating new displays. Computer skills are always welcome.

If you have an interest in military history, here is a chance for you to step forward. Volunteer time, become a member, donate artifacts, and/or help with funding with your fully tax deductible contributions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ron Crisman

All donations are fully tax deductible under IRS 501(c)(3)