Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum
5702 Tennessee Ave.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free.
The Brig. Gen. Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum reopened in April 2018 after a year and a half of construction. The renovations included $6 million in building restorations and $1.5 million in exhibit fabrications. The new building layout allows patrons to flow easily through the history of the 101st Airborne Division, from its inception to the division’s recent deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. And exhibits can be added as the division continues its missions.
The museum houses nearly 5,000 artifacts that tell the division story. Though most of the artifacts on display are the same as before the renovation, the presentation has been enhanced with lighting, graphics and creatively designed exhibits.
Memorabilia from Brig. Gen. Don F. Pratt, with some of the personal possessions of Gens. William C. Lee, Maxwell D. Taylor, Anthony C. McAuliffe and William C. Westmoreland, are among the featured exhibits.
Other exhibits include a restored CG-4A cargo glider that carried glider-borne Soldiers into combat during World War II, uniforms and equipment of the American Soldier and his enemies from the European and Pacific theaters of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and the global war on terrorism.
There are also captured personal items of Adolf Hitler, Herman Goering and other high-ranking Nazi officials. Although the main museum theme focuses on the history of the 101st Airborne Division, there are also displays that address early developments in airborne warfare and Camp Campbell as an Armor Training Center in WWII.
Included in the displays are the following units: the 11th Airborne Division, the 12th Armored Division, the 14th Armored Division, the 20th Armored Division, the 26th Infantry Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne).
An outdoor park across the street from the museum displays military aircraft and equipment used by or captured by the division. The centerpiece of the park is the “Brass Hat” — a C-47 aircraft resembling the plane used to carry the division commander, Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, into Holland during Operation Market Garden in World War II. The museum’s primary mission is to train Soldiers; to that end a reference library and archives are available for Soldiers and units. Both guided and unguided tours (reservations required for guided tours), daily historical films, a gift shop, gallery talks, lectures and educational programs including foreign weapons training are available. Call for more information or to schedule tours, training or briefings. The museum also conducts weekly new Soldier briefings to introduce new Soldiers to the history, heritage and values of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
The museum also has displays in the nearby McAuliffe Hall, the 101st Airborne Division Command and Control Facility, which are open to the public, and includes the 101st Airborne Division Association Monument outside. In the foyer, there are displays dedicated to McAuliffe, for whom the building is named, a rotunda honoring the division’s Medal of Honor recipients, a collection of bronze sculptures of airborne Soldiers from WWII to the present day,
and an exhibit dedicated to “Old Abe,” the Civil War eagle mascot whose image is the origin of the famous Screaming Eagle shoulder patch of the 101st Airborne Division.