• Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

    Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

    The mission of the museum and research center is to preserve, interpret and disseminate the story, history and records of New York State’s military forces and veterans.

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  • Sherman Tank Returns!

    Sherman Tank Returns!

    Our Sherman Tank returns to the NYS Military Museum from Fort Drum after a year long restoration, to it's permanent exhibit spot.

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  • CIVIL WAR PAINTINGS | Now on Display

    CIVIL WAR PAINTINGS | Now on Display

    This exhibit will highlight some of the finest Civil War artwork from the collection of the Military Museum on a rotating basis. Click for more details...

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  • A CALL NOT UNHEEDED

    A CALL NOT UNHEEDED

    The exhibit features a dazzling array of militia and National Guard distinctive unit dress uniforms, ballot boxes and decorative bronze trophies that interpret the social organization of the National Guard, original artifacts from the USS Maine, and a carronade captured during the 1857 Dead Rabbits Riot in New York City.

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  • Battleground for Freedom

    Battleground for Freedom

    No less than 120 military engagements occurred on New York soil, more than in any other state, ranging in scale and significance from the decisive Battle of Saratoga to numerous bitter skirmishes and ruthless raids that raged throughout the frontier settlements...

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  • Some Great Past Exhibits

    Some Great Past Exhibits

Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

The mission of Friends is to be a support to the museum, to aid in fund raising for exhibits and displays, as well as assisting in drawing attention to the museum through programs, lectures and events. As the board of trustees, we are the elected board which helps direct the membership to facilitate the support mission of the non profit group.

 

American Bombshells Event, Saturday February 25th

On Saturday, February 25th, at 1PM, at the Military Museum, the Friends of the New York State Military Museum is proud to present the "American Bombshells" as they perform their USO style show of patriotic songs to honor our veterans. This entertaining show will honor all veterans but especially our Vietnam and Korean War veterans. Tickets are $30.00 each pre-sale, and $35.00 at the door and ticket sales will start in the next few days. Please plan on attending. Your participation will also support our efforts to complete our fundraising for our upcoming Korean/Vietnam war exhibit scheduled to open in the next few months. More details will follow. Stay tuned! Mark your calendars! Don't miss this entertaining event.

www.americanbombshells.com

Calendar of Events

New York State Military Museum

Winter/Spring 2017 Speakers Series

Sponsored by the Friends of the New York State Military Museum

 

Saturday, Jan. 28, 2:00PMCharles Lindbergh:  An American Aviator – Tim Clark, a retired US Air Force pilot and Lindbergh enthusiast, presents a first-person account of one of America’s greatest heroes and aviation pioneers. FREE!

SaturdayFeb. 4, 2:00PMWar on the Middleline – Local historian Jim Richmond recounts the 1780 raid by British soldiers, Loyalists, and Mohawk Indians on the recently settled Middleline Road in Ball’s Town and its impact on those taken prisoner and their families. FREE!

Saturday,  Feb. 11, 2:00PMSaipan:  The Friction of War – Retired National Guard officer and historian Pat Chaisson will discuss this key World War II battle fought from June 15 – July 8, 1944.  At Saipan, the largest military operation in the Central Pacific Theater so far, 49,000 US Marines and soldiers hit the beach expecting to fight a handful of poorly-armed enemy castaways.  Instead, over 30,000 well-armed and entrenched Japanese combat troops awaited them. The six weeks that followed were among the bloodiest of the war. FREE!

Saturday, March 11, 2:00PMThe War of 1812 from President Madison's Perspective – Professional historical interpreter Kyle Jenks portrays President Madison discussing the latter part of the War of 1812. From the attack on Fort McHenry that inspired our future national anthem and the Burning of Washington to the Battle of Plattsburgh to the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, President Madison reveals his insightful rendition of the story of America's First Invasion. FREE!

 

Saturday, March 18, 2:00PMThe Tammany Regiment – Civil War historian Fred Wexler traces the history of the 42nd New York Volunteer Infantry from its recruitment under the infamous New York City political organization through its three years’ service in some of the most brutal battles of the Civil War.  FREE!

 Saturday, March 25, 2:00PMThe Man Who Captured Tojo - Associated Press reporter Chris Carola will give a presentation on the key role John “Jack” Wilpers, a bookie's son from Saratoga Springs, played in capturing—and keeping alive—one of World War II’s most wanted war criminals, Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.  Carola will also discuss his 20-year quest to get Wilpers, a CIA retiree, to talk about his place in history for the first time since 1945. FREE!

Saturday, April 8, 2:00PMOver There with O'Ryan's Roughnecks: The 27th Division under British Command, 1918 – The 27th Division, New York’s Own, was one of two US Army division to serve under foreign command during World War I.  John Bessette will give an overview of the formation of the 27th Division, its training in America and with the British in France, its deployment in the trenches, and its role in breaking the Hindenburg Line.  He will also discuss the experiences of several representative New York State doughboys, particularly their interactions and relationships with their British and Australian counterparts. FREE!

All events are free and and are at the New York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Avenue.

  • Col. Charles R. Johnson, active veteran, dies

    Courtesy of the Times-Union, Sunday, January 15, 2017:

    Retired Army Col. Charles R. Johnson, an active supporter of veterans and other causes and husband of the former head of Emma Willard School, Trudy Hall, died Thursday.

    "Charlie made an indelible mark on the Emma community in the 16 years he lived here with his wife. ... His steadfast character, Southern charm, and tenacious spirit made a lasting impression on everyone he met," the school said in a statement on its website Friday.A Vietnam War veteran, Johnson was honored last year by the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Era Veterans and in 2014 as the state veteran of the year.

    He retired from the Army in 1981 after 26 years of service and moved to the Capital Region in 1999 when Hall took on the job at Emma Willard. The couple had moved to Virginia, where Hall had taken a one-year position last school year, and were making plans to move to Seattle. His fellow veterans remembered Johnson as a charming man who made a lasting impression and was ever-present at veterans' events.

    "Anything he tackled, he did it with expertise, professionalism, always with a smile and always with respect," said Gene Loparco, a veteran activist and secretary-treasurer of Please Remember Me, which lines Route 9 with American flags each year to honor fallen soldiers. Johnson was present not just at events for Vietnam veterans like himself, Loparco said. Johnson served as a Ranger adviser in Vietnam, as an operations officer in a U.S. Special Operations Group and battalion commander in the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions.

    "When we had an event with the Gold Star Mothers or the Daughters of the American Revolution, he was always there," Loparco said. "He would be present for support for any of the events we had."   Johnson described himself as a poor country boy from the Deep South. He grew up in Mississippi. In 2014, at age 82, he was named the Veteran of the Year during a ceremony at the New York State Military Museum.

    Citing a favorite quotation, Johnson said at the time, "there's no greater feeling of self-satisfaction than to serve your country and know you served it well."

    Joseph Pollicino, president of the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Era Veterans, met Johnson shortly after the latter moved to the Capital Region. They both accompanied a group of Gold Star Mothers, mothers who had lost children in battle, on a visit to West Point, from which Johnson had graduated in 1955.

    "He brought a lot of knowledge to our organization," Pollicino said. "He was a down to earth person who gave you a different perspective, being an officer and doing three tours of Vietnam."

    He said Johnson helped with everything from a renovation of the Albany Vietnam Veterans Memorial to setting up endowments at four local colleges. The two had spoken last week.

    "He took an interest in all veterans' activities no matter what they were," Pollicino said. "He is going to be remembered. Everybody he met, he touched. He never missed a meeting. He filled a room when he walked in. He was a colonel, but he didn't push that. He was one of the guys."

    The council had already planned to hold an annual dinner in Johnson's honor and to name its Veteran of the Year award after him.

    Besides his involvement in veterans' activities, he also served on the board of Oakwood Cemetery. In 2004, he was among a group of volunteers who posed for a fundraising calendar which showed people seemingly nude in the cemetery. Then age 72, he posed wearing a Vietnam era backpack, a World War II helmet, a Civil War saber and his own Army boots.

    "We are a poor cemetery. We do need to raise funds to keep this lovely place going," Johnson said at the time. "It's truly a walk through history. It's a jewel in the crown of Troy."

    Details of services are still being finalized.

  • Military Museum Announces major fundraising boost

    The Friends of the New York State Military Museum's fundraising efforts received a big boost recently with significant grants from local foundations' and a prominent area business to support the NYS Military Museum's development of a major new exhibition on the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

    Stewart's Shops, which donates $7.5 million annually to local charities, and the Saratoga Foundation each awarded the Friends $10,000 while the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust presented the Friends a check for $20,000.00.  The Friends will use these funds to help pay for installation expenses such as exhibit cases and graphics as well as to support the development of associated educational programming and interactive video kiosks featuring oral histories from New York State veterans.

    "We are grateful for these generous awards, so we can support the Military Museum's exhibit on Korea and Vietnam and help to honor the service and sacrifice of all of our nation's brave men and women who participated in these conflicts," said David Wallingford, President of the Friends and a Vietnam War veteran.

    Entitled "Hot Spots in the Cold War:  Korean and Vietnam," the exhibition is scheduled to open in the late spring or summer of 2017.

    December 17, 2016

     

     

     

  • Ellsworth Civil War Flag

    Just how did a piece of an early Confederate flag get to the Inland Empire in California?

     
    Capt. Elmer Ellsworth (Courtesy photo)
    Capt. Elmer Ellsworth (Courtesy photo) 
     
    This is a 14-foot-by-24-foot Confederate flag, which has been heavily cut by souvenir hunters, that flew over the Marshall House in Alexandria in 1861.   (Image courtesy of the New York State Military Museum, New York State Division of Military and Naval
Affairs.)This is a 14-foot-by-24-foot Confederate flag, which has been heavily cut by souvenir hunters, that flew over the Marshall House in Alexandria in 1861. (Image courtesy of the New York State Military Museum, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.) 

     

    An odd relic of one of America’s most horrific periods will see the light of day Tuesday for the first time in many years.

    The 5-inch-square piece of blue and white cloth will seem rather ordinary to visitors who see it beginning Tuesday at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands. It was cut from an historic flag whose tapestry tells the unhappy story of some of the first deaths of the Civil War.

    The museum opens a two-month-long exhibition, “Over Here, Over There: In Times of War, showing items in its collections from veterans — mostly local men and women — from their times served in the military.

     

     

    The cloth on display at the museum is related to a few tense moments in May 1861 that claimed the lives of two men in a fight over a Confederate flag. Their deaths left each man a martyr to their respective causes early in the Civil War.

    The fabric was believed cut from what is known as the Marshall House flag, a huge Confederate banner that was raised above the Marshall House hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, by its owner James Jackson. It was a time when the Union was disintegrating as Southern states began seceding after Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

     

     

    The 14-foot-by-24-foot flag — with three horizontal stripes and a circle of seven stars — was the first flag designed for the Confederacy, though it was later replaced by the “Dixie” flag, the more familiar symbol of the Southern cause.

    It was a center of attention when Union soldiers were sent across the Potomac from Washington D.C. to occupy Alexandria on May 24, 1861, the day after Virginia voted to leave the union, according to the New York Military Museum.

    The soldiers were led by Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, who among other things had been a law clerk for Lincoln in Illinois before entering the Army. Angered because the flag could be seen across the river at the White House, Ellsworth decided to climb onto the hotel roof and haul it down.

     

     

    Angered by his action, Jackson grabbed a shotgun and killed Ellsworth. Moments later, Jackson was shot and killed by Ellsworth’s soldiers.

    The body of Ellsworth, the first Union officer to die in the war, would later lie in state at the White House. It was then taken with the blood-stained flag to his home in Mechanicsville, New York, for burial. News of his death served as a rallying point for recruiting Union soldiers in the early days of the war.

    That much is known about the flag and its bloody history, but there’s mostly a mystery about how the museum’s 155-year-old piece found its way 3,000 miles west to the Inland Empire.

    According to the museum records, there are no specific details as to who donated it or when. It was unearthed among the hundreds of items donated to the museum over the years when preparations began for the veterans exhibit.

    There was some information attached to the cloth in the form of a tag with the heading, “Piece of the First Rebel Flag Captured.”

    Christopher S. Morton, assistant curator of the New York Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, said the tag suggests it was Ephraim Daniel Ellsworth, the slain soldier’s father, who cut off at least some of the pieces of the flag for friends and family. The elder Ellsworth later was commissioned a captain by Lincoln and served throughout the war.

     

    “For E.D. to have a piece of the famous Marshall House flag does not seem far-fetched,” Morton said via email. “The flag had been heavily ‘souvenired’ at the time.”

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    “I do know that fragments are held by the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian), Fort Ward Museum (in Alexandria) and the Lincoln Presidential Library,” he said.

     

     

    The huge flag itself has been in the possession of military museum since the end of the Civil War. It was briefly on public exhibit in New York in 2011-12, for the 150th anniversary of the incident in Alexandria, but it is not presently on display, Morton said.

    The 1861 killings in the hotel in Alexandria over the flag has been largely forgotten. At the time, though, word of Ellsworth’s death was treated in Northern cities as a national tragedy.

    “His murder was fearfully and speedily revenged,” wrote the New York Times, the day after the incident in Alexandria. “His memory will be revered, his name respected and long after the rebellion shall have become a matter of history, his death will be regarded as a martyrdom, and his name will be enrolled upon the list of our country’s patriots.”

     

     

    The San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, just off the 10 Freeway at California Street. Information: 909-798-8608.

  • Summer 2016 Newsletter

  • Local Public Library donation

    June 8, 2016

    A local  Public Library from the Binghamton area, recently discovered this framed photo in their attic while doing some searching and cleaning.  Through our Facebook site -New York State Military Museum, the library contacted us and agreed to donate this historical photo to the Military Museum.  If you have something in your home or place of business, you would like to donate to the Military Museum, please contact us.  

     

     

     

Museum Hours

Tuesday - Saturday | 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Closed Sunday & Monday)

Research Center Hours

Appointments are required.
Tuesday – Friday | 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

The museum is closed on
all New York State & Federal Holidays.

61 Lake Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 581-5100

Museum Store
(518) 226-0490

Due to staffing concerns the museum
can no longer accept telephone inquiries.

 


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