Museum Exhibits

New exhibit details Korean, Vietnam wars



Memories come flooding back for Dave Wallingford as he surveys a permanent new exhibit, containing some of his own gear, at the New York State Military Museum on Lake Avenue.

More than two years in the making, “Hot Spots in the Cold War: Korean and Vietnam Wars” covers the period 1950-75 and uses numerous photographs, artifacts and oral history videos to tell the story of New Yorkers in combat, life at home during the Cold War, and civil strife that accompanied the Vietnam War during the late 1960s and early 70s. Known to his fellow U.S. Marines as “Lieutenant Wally,” Wallingford served most of his 1968-69 tour in Vietnam near the demilitarized zone, north of Da Nang. As an officer, he was especially vulnerable to enemy fire while on patrol.


“The NVA (North Vietnamese Army soldiers) weren’t stupid,” he said. “If you were in an ambush situation, they knew the guy right in front of the radio operator was an officer.” Wallingford, who achieved the rank of captain, was a forward observer for an artillery battery assigned to a Marine rifle company — Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. In March 1969, he was seriously wounded during a day-long fire fight.

Flown out by helicopter, Wallingford was taken to Da Nang and rehabbed at a naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, where he met his wife, Helene, a Navy nurse. Both of their uniforms are part of the exhibit, created by museum Chief Curator Mark J. Koziol, with help from Maine-based Ted Anderson Design & Photography. Koziol wrote all of the accompanying text for “Hot Spots,” which required months of extensive research. Most artifacts are from the museum’s collection  Items from the Korean War (1950-53) include an M 1911A 1 .45-caliber pistol, the A-frame pack Korean porters used to transport supplies, water purification tablets, and a 155 artillery shell like those fired in combat by the New York Army National Guard's 955th Field Artillery Battalion.  Several Soviet-made weapons, used by communist forces, are featured, too. Also, there are color pen-and-ink drawings done by Navy Corpsman Steve Jordan, of Ballston Spa, depicting scenes such as fighting in Seoul, South Korea and during infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

“This brings home from a first-person point of view what he saw,” Koziol said. One display case features the outfit, including life vest, worn by naval aviator William Choltco, who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was shot down during one mission and spent many hours floating at sea before getting rescued. Psychological warfare was a big part of the Korean and Vietnam wars, which the exhibit explains, also, along with the constant underlying threat of nuclear attack. Items used to explain the Cold War’s history includes a Civil Defense sanitation kit found in bomb shelters, a radiation detector that would have been used after an atomic bomb attack, and survival ration crackers. ( 12/8/18).



Civil War Paintings

Now on Display.

This exhibit highlights some of the finest Civil War artwork from the collection of the Military Museum on a rotating basis.

The first installment of the exhibit  includes works by Thure de Thulstrop and James Walker, including Thulstrup’s vivid paintings that were used to create a set of chromolithograph prints in 1886 that become the most popular and best-selling prints ever produced, and Walker’s twelve-foot long painting of the Battle of Resaca that had been believed to be lost since 1959 but was recently discovered and restored.

This exhibit  is available  for viewing during Museum Hours.

  • Thulstrup Painting
    “Hancock at Gettysburg,” by Thure de Thulstrap depicts a critical moment during the Battle of Gettysburg when Major General Winfield Scott Hancock rides along the Union lines to steady the troops as the Confederate army bombards the Union position on Cemetery Ridge prior to Pickett’s Charge.
  • Battle Of Resaca
    James Walker’s mural of the Battle of Resaca depicts Major General Daniel Butterfield’s division in the background charging Confederate lines, while Union officers, including Joseph Hooker, Oliver O. Howard, and Daniel Sickles assemble in the foreground.

Exhibit Info

Empire for Union

New York and the Civil War

Empire for Union provides an overview of the enormous contributions of New York State to the Civil War, both on the battlefield and on the home front. This exhibition considers the shifting and assorted political and economic realities throughout the state during the war and focuses on the role of New York troops in the general course of the war and on the daily realities of a soldier’s life.

Exhibit Info

Fiery Trial and Sacrifice

New York and the First World War

Fiery Trial and Sacrifice chronicles America’s road to war and the contributions made by New York State’s military forces such as the 27th Division—proudly known as “New York’s Own;” the “Fighting 69th”—New York City’s famed Irish regiment; the 77th Division - known as “The Melting Pot Division” because many of its members were first generation immigrants; and the 369th Infantry

Exhibit Info

World War II

United for Victory

In a war that raged across the globe, 1.7 million New Yorkers served in America’s armed forces and millions more contributed to the nation’s enormous industrial production to help achieve victory. United for Victory examines the causes of the war and America’s general strategy and tactics, and highlights the contributions of each branch of service with a special emphasis on New York’s 27th Division.

Exhibit Info

Battleground for Freedom:

New York During the Revolutionary War

From the American surprise attack on Ft. Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775 to the British withdrawal from New York City on November 26, 1783, New York State was a major stage for much military drama throughout the Revolutionary War. With its many lakes and rivers that served as principal transportation and communication routes throughout the colonial era, New York State was of critical strategic importance in the young nation’s battle for freedom.

Exhibit Info

A Call Not Unheeded

New York’s Militia and National Guard, 1792-1916

A Call Not Unheeded traces the evolution of New York State’s military forces from the end of the Revolutionary War to the eve of World War I and the prominent role New York’s militia and National Guard played in many national and state conflicts such as the War of 1812 and the Spanish American War, and numerous strikes and riots in New York State throughout the 19th century.

Exhibit Info

Museum Hours

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

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Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
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