Rock Island Arsenal Museum

Being a mom of five sons who are all interested in military history and as someone who has several military veterans in my family, the Rock Island Arsenal was one of the places I most wanted to see when we planned a trip to the Quad Cities (made up of the towns of Rock Island and Moline, Illinois and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa.) I knew it was something my boys would be fascinated by. My husband and I were on a solo trip, but I'm already making plans for a trip back there with the kids this summer.

Rock Island Arsenal is an active military facility and I'll write more on it in another blog post. It was a really interesting place to visit. The Rock Island Arsenal Museum is one of the spots we stopped at while on Arsenal Island. The museum is the Army's second oldest museum, which first opened to the public on July 4, 1905. The only Army museum that dates back earlier is the one at West Point.

This article on the Army's website gives more detail on what is in the collection of the Rock Island Arsenal Museum, including five weapons present at the Battle of Little Bighorn and what they are doing to preserve them - https://www.army.mil/article/96359/Hidden_Treasures_at_the_Rock_Island_Arsenal_Museum. 


The museum encompasses one floor of the building with one entire wall covered with military guns that are arranged in a color coded chronological system. Among the items on display in the museum are uniforms, machining equipment used at the arsenal and other weaponry with background on the wars our nation has been involved in and the arsenal's role in them.

Allow about about an hour to walk through and read the information within the displays. It will only deepen your feelings of respect of those who have committed to serving their country and protecting its citizens. There are several additional points of interest to see at the arsenal - enough to fill an entire afternoon.

Be aware that you will need to obtain a visitors pass to enter the grounds of this working military installation. A photo ID is required to receive a pass at the visitors center. Allow a little extra time to fill out paperwork, answer questions and get a photo taken. More details can be found at arsenalhistoricalsociety.org.

Rock Island Arsenal Museum
1 Rock Island Arsenal
Building 60 - 3500 North Avenue
Rock Island, IL
(309) 782-5021



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