The mission of the Maryland Museum of Military History is to collect, preserve, interpret, and present significant artifacts and artwork relating to the history of the Maryland’s soldiers and airmen, and of the people, places, and events that represent the military heritage of the State of Maryland. Through exhibits, educational programs, and public outreach, the Museum strives to convey an awareness of the military service of Marylanders, and how that service has helped preserve American freedoms and advance democratic principles.
In 1973, with the permission of Major General Edwin Warfield III, the Adjutant General of Maryland, a group of dedicated Guardsmen, headed by Colonel Edmund G. Beacham, formed the Maryland National Guard Memorial Library Committee. The committee’s purpose was to keep alive the deeds, memories, and memorabilia of the Maryland National Guard so that future generations would have available to them the history of the Maryland Guard and the people who created it. The group met periodically in The Adjutant General’s Conference Room at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, although the number of members and degree of participation varied.
In March 1981, funds became available and, with the concurrence of Major General Warren D. Hodges, The Adjutant General of Maryland, the Board Room of the 175th Infantry Regiment, located in the Fifth Regiment Armory, was selected to house the Maryland National Guard Museum. The museum was dedicated on October 24, 1982.
With the establishment of a permanent museum, General Hodges requested that the library committee continue to function and recommended that it become the Maryland National Guard Military Historical Society and take over management of the Pikesville Military Reservation Museum as well. In response to this recommendation, the Maryland National Guard Military Historical Society was incorporated as a non -profit organization to oversee museum operations, with Colonel (USA Ret) Bernard Feingold serving as Museum Director.
Over the years, the museum grew and prospered, eventually expanding to occupy all the former offices of the 175th Infantry Regiment. In addition, beginning in 2001, the museum began expanding into several adjacent spaces. When renovations were complete, these became the museum art gallery and the Hancock Memorial Library.
On May 13, 2003, Major General Bruce F. Tuxill, The Adjutant General, instituted new policies governing the operation of the Maryland National Guard Museum. To bring the museum into compliance with Army regulations, the Maryland National Guard Military Historical Society agreed to transfer all artifacts to state ownership and the State of Maryland Military Department historian was designated as custodian for the museum’s collection of artifacts, items, and documents.
In April 2005, to better align the Maryland Military Historical Society and The Adjutant General’s vision for the museum’s future, the museum was renamed the Maryland Museum of Military History and it’s mandate was broadened to include not just Maryland’s National Guard and militia forces, but all of Maryland’s soldiers and airmen. In addition, the Maryland Center for Military History was established under Maryland Law to incorporate the museum, the research center, and the society within a single consolidated structure.
The Maryland Military Historical Research Center includes the finest collection of archival material in the United States devoted to a single U.S. Army division, the 29th Division. Scholars from all over the world regularly pay visits to the center to uncover archival documents related to the rich history of the 29th, including its participation in the Omaha Beach invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Archival holdings also include many significant documents from the long and rich history of the Maryland National Guard. The center is open to the public by appointment.
In keeping with its new direction the Maryland Museum of Military History seeks to portray the experiences of past and present members, activities and facilities of the organized militia forces of Maryland, significant military operations within Maryland, the military service of citizens of Maryland, and state and national military installations within Maryland.
In 2013, the Maryland Museum of Military History opened a new exhibit celebrating the military history of Marylanders from the 1991 Persian Gulf War to the present day. In September 2014, coincident with the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, the Maryland Museum of Military History opened a permanent new exhibit on the role of Maryland’s forces in the War of 1812. In addition to the fixed museum displays, this exhibit includes a counterpart traveling display that is scheduled to appear in libraries and other venues across Maryland through 2016, and a permanent digital exhibit within the digital museum.