Post Cards from the old Patton Museum

After almost ten years of volunteering at the Patton Museum, Ft. Knox.
I thought I might share some of the accumulated photographs from along the way. Both Museum photos and some from the many reenactments that were held there.

Unlike the current “Armor Museum” at Ft. Benning, the Patton was truly a living Museum!

Shown here in no particular order:

Museum Vehicle - Running Condition
1_Zippo

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7_19-6

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7_19-8

251+P-51

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All Photos Copyright Michael Koenig ~ All Rights Reserved ~ Please for personal use only!

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I do my best to always take photographs that will appear timeless:
Are they from 1943 or 2005???
(In B&W or Sepia tone it is hard to tell - Which is just the way I like it!)

Museum Vehicle
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Museum Vehicle - Running Condition (Both Shermans)
1022_23

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1023_24

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kub_sch

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Het Hill

ROLL3DX-11A

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Strategysm

M - R (at the time)
ReImages

All Photos Copyright Michael Koenig ~ All Rights Reserved ~ Please for personal use only!

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I don’t know about anyone else but I sure as heck had a good time!

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All Photos Copyright Michael Koenig ~ All Rights Reserved ~ Please, for personal use only!

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Before my health declined, I starting visiting military museums all over the United States. The Patton Museum long resided on my list of places to visit. Was it shut down when the armor school moved to Fort Benning in 2011?

Those pictures are lovely and I admit a degree of envy, even though I have many of my own, taken at other museums, stored on defunct hard drives scattered around the house. I really should try to save those pictures before the old hard drives start pitting.

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Yes, the Armor School moving to Benning was the death nell for the Patton Armor and Cavalry Museum!

FYI - I have three different external hard drives (one that is solid state and the others being disk drives that I keep all my images backed up on ~ in triplicate!

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Work days and prepping for events:
Moving equipment, punching gun tubes, pressure washing, safety training, driver’s Ed., cleaning, restoration, general maintenance work and (oh joy of joys) mowing the grass!

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Back dated to Wartime appearance; the Museum’s Hetzer as seen above.
And in it’s post-war livery as seen below:

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ROLL2DX-7

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ROLL2DX-21 . ROLL2DX-3

All Photos Copyright Michael Koenig ~ All Rights Reserved ~ Please, for personal use only!

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Some Faces of the Volunteers: (The Men of Steel)

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ROLL1DX-2A . ROLL3DX-3A

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ROLL2DX-14

ROLL1DX-13A

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ROLL1DX-11A .


Not all reenactors dress in military garb!

All Photos Copyright Michael Koenig ~ All Rights Reserved ~ Please, for personal use only!

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My Personal Favorite: the Sd. Kfz. 10 (D7, Demag & Sauer)

litetk1

litetk7

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ROLL1DX-23

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All Photos Copyright Michael Koenig ~ All Rights Reserved ~ Please, for personal use only!

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What happened to all the vehicles at the museum? Were they sold off or scrapped?

All went to Benning to “support” the Armor School.

For sevearal years they were again stored outside in the weather but now the best of them are inside a new large garage type building.
However the collection is locked away and unavailable to most interested parties which seems to be exactly the way the CMH wants it.

Analogy:
Some librarians think the perfect library is one with all the books neatly arranged in proper order on the shelves but others believe the perfect library is one with most of the books checked out and being used.


To my mind it would have made far more sense to leave the collection where it was until a proper new protective building could have been provided and then gradually move the collection to its’ new home while for that time the Museum at Knox could have remained viable and could have continued it’s decades long history as a Public Relations tool for the US Army with its’ additional function as a recruitment tool located near a major population center. (Louisville) rather than as now, a non-functional, closed collection with no public access.

Again, all the books set neatly on their shelves, all in order and all locked away so no one can get any use out of them. (or learn from them!)

Now some will say the collection “serves a vital function in support of the Armor School” and to that I call BS.

To my knowledge a visit to the Museum at Knox was NEVER part of any Tanker’s required curriculum at the Armor School.(Some will differ on this point.) It was left totally up to the individual student to CHOOSE to visit the Museum.

To the new Tanker in Training the lesson was “Oh, we used to power our tanks with radial airplane engines and now we power them with gas turbine airplane engines.” Then too the comment might be “The Shermans were death traps with an ineffectual 75mm gun that was replaced too late in the war with the Pershing and the 90mm gun” ~ End of lesson.

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The Chieftain did a video/interview with the curator there a while ago. Gives you a good overview of the new building. I think they touch on future plans for public access, or at least arranging open days.

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I do know that more pieces (many more) have been added to the collection over time. To my knowledge, the Tank Destroyer seen above with the hard top on the turret was not part of the Knox collection when it was moved to Benning.

There is no formal armor museum at Benning-its solely for storage.

Don ~ Thank You for posting this video which I had not seen prior to this!

The video seen just above does greatly reduce my personal angst over how the collection is/was being handled. Add to that the fact that Rob says the Museum has FINALLY been added as a required course to the training curriculum pleases me greatly!

Still the move to Benning was initially a step backwards in that the artifacts were again stored outside under tarps. (Bad, bad, bad - no way to preserve/maintain an AFV) However the facility seems to have now finally hit its stride and the new building is nothing short of a beautiful new home for the collection ! ! ! ! ! ! ! BIG Exclamation Point!


Dan ~ Please view the video above as it may change your viewpoint somewhat. (It changed mine!) The fact that the collection now serves an actual MANDATED educational function within the Armor School goes a long way (IMHO) towards justifying it’s move to Benning. (More use by the Armor School than it ever got at Knox!)

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This is/was a great and productive discussion! ~ Let’s keep it going!

How come my local, private donation funded, wildlife museum can manage almost daily tours conducted by volunteer docents visited by almost every school within 100 miles, yet the US Army can barely muster one or two public tours a month? That video is not hopeful. The situation is stupid. Someone needs a serious kick in the tail.

waves walking stick around in the air in a vaguely menacing manner

The whole thing, the closing of Ft Knox, moving the Armor School, closing the Patton Museum, was just incredibly stupid. But not a surprise. The Infantry branch (who runs the Army, always has, always will) has been trying to get rid of armor since 1918. Give them half a chance, and this will be only place left in the Army with armored vehicles. And it will still be closed to the public!

If you really want to see a Patton Museum, go here: General Patton Memorial Museum - Chiriaco Summit (generalpattonmuseum.com)
Ken

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There is still a “George S. Patton Museum of Command & Leadership.” It is located in a portion of what was the old Patton Armor Museum but in this case it focuses on the man and not at all on Armor. It has it’s own uncontrolled highway entrance and parking lot for easy access off Dixie Highway. Plus it is totally fenced off from the rest of the base for security. (Took the Museum years even get this much!)

Wonderful . Thak you!

The current GSP Museum at Knox still houses his command truck, his limo and his Ft. Knox parade jeep.
Also his Leica cameras, personal affects and his WWI uniform, his Olympic clothing AND his ivory (not pearl) handled revolvers.

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