American Heritage Museum
The American Heritage Museum in Hudson is a sprawling, interactive experience that allows visitors to experience military conflicts from the Revolutionary War to modern day. I spoke with Hunter Chaney, the Director of Marketing and Communications, about the museum’s mission, exhibits and upcoming events. “The goal of the foundation is that we want to provide a history experience not only as a means to better understand history, but we want to excite people to want to learn more about history, and we do a lot of this through immersive experiences,” Chaney begins.
Visitors to the American Heritage Museum begin at the Revolutionary War and continue chronologically through history with the Civil War, both World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and the War on Terror. Chaney pointed out the trench warfare portion of the WWI exhibit. “People go out of the theater and into this immersive World War One trench experience.
So you’re in this trench, you know, and it’s a kind of an eight minute presentation that plays out what a battle in WWI in a trench would be like. It’s a really compelling, very engaging exhibit.”
“A lot of the exhibits are panoramic exhibits with these environmental backdrops and environmental embellishments to all the exhibits and all of these tanks and equipment things like that, they’re all original,” Chaney explains, “So what people are seeing is an exact representation of what you would have seen during that particular era or time in history.” The exhibit that stood out the most to me was the newly opened Hanoi Hilton from the Vietnam War. Visitors can explore two cells from this infamous POW prison that have been reconstructed from the actual bricks, doors, and beds that were shipped from Vietnam as the prison was being demolished.
The American Heritage Museum also hosts events from May through October, beginning with their WWII Tank Demonstration Weekend on May 27th and 28th. The museum hosts “Tanks, Wing & Wheels Featuring American Elegance” in June over Father’s Day weekend. “It’s a grandiose classic automobile beauty pageant with a 1920s radio show,” Chaney explains, “We have Al Capone’s automobile and some other rare cars and we do this kind of fun, you know, exhibition of these cars while talking about their history and where they came from. But we also inject historical notes, pop culture, things like that, to give people a reference of the time that the car was made.
“Even for folks that aren’t really into military history or history in general, it’s always fun when people come visit because you never think that this place is where it is. It’s such a jaw dropper when you look at the collection as a whole. You just can’t believe that all this stuff is here in New England. It’s really extraordinary,” Chaney says, adding, “It’s been a lot of fun reaching new audiences and people that haven’t visited yet and and we’re continuing to expand and improve. We’ll keep adding events and things like that. So there’s always something neat happening at the museum.”
The American History Museum, located at 568 Main Street in Hudson, is open Wednesday through Sunday. Check out their exhibits, upcoming events and get more information at americanheritagemuseum.org