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Commemorating Military History

Military History Sites

Military history sites commemorate the defining moments of military conflicts. Almost any country or city has war memorials and monuments, but some sites are specifically dedicated to military history.

The Library of Congress has an excellent website with links to primary source materials from major military periods. The site also offers a timeline of war and conflict.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest and most comprehensive library, containing almost 100 million items. The Library serves Congress, the people of the United States and researchers worldwide. Its collections include manuscripts of 23 presidents; the largest collection of rare books in North America; a large archive of photographs, films and recorded sound; maps and atlases that have guided explorers and navigators throughout history; and more.

The building that houses the Library of Congress was designed to serve as a national treasure and a symbol of American democracy. After considering and rejecting designs ranging from classic Greek to Victorian Gothic, the congressional Joint Committee on the Library selected a modified Italian Renaissance style submitted by two Washington architects.

The mission of the Library of Congress is to serve the Congress in its objective research of public policy issues, to uphold and sustain a universally accessible collection, and to establish general policies and administrative duties that support and complete this collection.

Air University

Air University (AU) is the intellectual center of the United States Air Force and develops future leaders and planners in air power for the armed forces, federal government and international organizations. AU’s schools, colleges and institutes conduct professional military education and research at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Alabama.

Its founding commander, Maj. Gen. Muir S. Fairchild, is considered one of the “founding fathers” of professional military education. The university’s library is named in his honor.

The Air University Library produces the leading journals in airpower, military science and history as well as books on the Air Force and its heritage. The library also publishes current, topic-focused research guides and maintains archival access to Special bibliographies. It also indexes scholarly and military journals in the field of international relations, political science and military themes. It is the publisher of AULIMP, the Air University Library Index to Military Periodicals, published since 1949. AULIMP is available to both civilian and military researchers on a subscription basis.

Tabletop Battle Simulations

Tabletop battle simulations (more commonly known as wargames, although some military analysts object to this term) are a way of testing theories of warfare without actually engaging in hostilities. They can be used at the tactical, operational, or doctrinal level. They can range from the Roman legions’ use of sand tables and miniature soldiers to play out strategic scenarios, to state-of-the-art computer simulation systems that mimic real-world military capabilities.

Historians can date the earliest tabletop historical wargaming as far back as 1812, when Prussian and German armies developed a board game called Kriegsspiel for officer training purposes. Graf Helmuth von Moltke was especially impressed with the game and promoted its use in his army. The Napoleonic era is a particularly popular time period for historical tabletop wargaming, due to the vast numbers of men involved in the conflicts and the fact that many military records from the time still exist, making it easier to recreate a historically accurate environment on the tabletop.

Jacksonville Museum of Military History

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History is a fascinating military history site that explores the significant contributions of civilians and soldiers during historical and current wars. Located on the original grounds of the Jacksonville Ordnance Plant, it features an administration building as well as exhibits and artifacts. It also has a display of original World War II posters depicting the “Four Freedoms” that were designed by Norman Rockwell.

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve has a replica of Fort Caroline that memorializes the short-lived French presence in Florida. The site also has exhibits displaying religious disputes, territorial battles, and the first contact between American Indians and Europeans.

The Jacksonville Historical Society operates many museums in the city. Guests can experience Jacksonville at the turn of the century at the Merrill House Museum, which is a fully-furnished home that represents life for middle-class families in 1903. The Clara White Mission Museum honors both Dr. Eartha White and Clara English White, two pioneer women who advocated for the poor in Jacksonville’s LaVilla neighborhood.

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