On Friday, September 15, 2006, John Fortier (call-sign PvtParts) and myself started on our annual trek northward toward the AMPSEAST show, this year being held in a new venue in Danbury, Connecticut. Just about a week of rain, made for a soggy trip, but the weatherman had predicted clearing weather for the weekend, so spirits were high. Since John and myself normally work weekends, we usually plan these excursions as “little mini vacations”, planning various side trips besides the AMPS Show. This year our plans were to go to Mystic Seaport on Friday, and the Danbury Military Museum on Sunday, but the dreary weather forced a change in plans, and Danbury was hit first, as it was right down the road from the show, and if we got too wet, we would not have that far a drive in wet clothes.
The proper name for the Museum is The Military Museum of Southern New England, and it’s located at 125 Park Ave, in Danbury Connecticut.
Danbury Military Museum Website
Our drive up was pleasant, and uneventful, traffic moved along well, even passing between New Jersey and New York during the morning rush hour without tie ups, and the trip took just about as long as the good old “Yahoo Driving Directions” said it would take. Discounting the time we spent having breakfast that is. The biggest traffic tie up we ran into was when the traffic was stopped by the police on the interstate, to allow the annual motorcycle “garlic run” to enter, and that was for about 15 minutes. It was still raining on and off, and I did not envy those riders. (I use to hate being caught in the rain on my bike!)
By the time we arrived at the museum, the weather was breaking, and spots of sun stated to show. As we pulled up, we were greeted by a fenced in front yard, with many of the exhibits in a somewhat sorry state of appearance. We parked and entered the museum building, and we were evidently were the first visitors for the day as the majority of the lights were out, and no one was at the front desk. Greeting us at the front door was a “Mule” fully restored. We paid the fee of $6.00 each, and they turned the lights on, and we both were surprised at the amount of exhibits inside such a small building. All the vehicles inside are excellently restored and well displayed in a diorama type display. (Cannot beat 1/1 diorama’s!) Just about every nook and cranny is filled with something, so if you go, look for the small but interesting nook on WW1.
After seeing and snapping loads of photos inside it was time to venture to the outside exhibits. Fortunately the weather was slowly improving, and although mostly over cast, nothing was coming down. We were given a loose leaf book describing each exhibits in detail. (A nice touch, and requested to return it to the desk before leaving, YES we did return it!)
Outside in the front yard, the vehicles are really packed in. So taking photos became a challenge, as it proved to be near impossible to get many full shots. The vehicles ranged from basic wrecks (the MBT70), to fully restored and running condition, others were still waiting to be restored, but were in running condition. As with most small museums, funding is always tight, and a small staff of dedicated volunteers does the majority of the restoration work.
John was kind enough to pose in some of the photos, so modelers can have a better idea of the sizes of the vehicles, my battle cry for the day became, “John-stand there for scale”. Now for those who have never met John, he stands a little over 6 feet, so it’s just like putting a figure with a model for scale effect.
The museum’s latest restoration is the M551 Sheridan, and sadly someone has already ripped the flotation screen canvas cover. The Museum plans to use the large 5-ton 8x8 expandable van body truck as a rolling mini museum, for their various road trips to schools, and shows.
After spending about and hour and a half in the front yard, and chatting with one of the staff, we ventured to the back area, to snap some more photos, here we discovered a lot more to be restored, and a few restored vehicles, one being a M-39 APC. Parked behind locked gates was a M578 ARV. While viewing through the gates we spied what appeared to be a Bofor’s awaiting restoration, some sort of a duce and a half, with a van/repairs hop body (could only see the rear view, and this was partially blocked by another vehicle), a large anti aircraft weapon in the distance and surrounded by over growth, and the “mystery vehicle”, buried, and I do mean buried under loads of bushes, so well hidden, that you could barely make out it’s brush guard.
Various lengths of spare track were laying around, out side in the weather for years, and of course I snapped loads of photos of these, the interesting thing is none were as rusted as most modelers rust theirs’. (Just something to think about!)
give it a go!
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this small museum, and if you are ever in the area of Danbury Connecticut, I would strongly recommend stopping and spending a few hours enjoying the museum. If you live in the area, why not think about volunteering a little of your time to help out. As with most small museums, I’m sure they could use the help. Consider becoming a member, and any one wishing to make a donation, can do so at their website, using Pay Pal.
I’ve posted over two hundred photos of the museum in the “Danbury Military Museum” gallery located HERE!
Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them!