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Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor

In this Louisville Life “war story,” Dr. Robert Cameron, Armor Branch historian at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Fort Knox, talks about Gen. George S. Patton and his significance in World War II. We also visit with O.B. Edens, a Patton Museum restoration specialist. Edens and his partner, Steve Wise, are the only tank restorers in the U.S. and have been at it for more than 20 years.

The Patton Museum opened on May 30, 1949. In 1950, it became the official museum of the newly renamed Armor Branch. Its primary mission is to train Armor and Cavalry soldiers while preserving the material heritage of the U.S. Army’s Armor Branch. Open to the public, the museum also supports research and development efforts for new Army vehicles.

Items in the museum’s original collection began arriving at Fort Knox in September 1946. Vehicles collected for the Armor School by order of Gen. Patton had been stored in the U.S. Zone of Germany, awaiting transportation. Additional vehicles and other artifacts were slowly transferred or donated to the museum before its opening in 1949.

The museum grew slowly through the years. By the late 1960s, it was apparent that a new building was needed to improve both the displays and the educational opportunities they afforded for soldiers and civilians. A private foundation was created to collect funds to create the present building, which opened its doors in 1972.

The collection has grown to more than 285 vehicles of all types, including tanks, armored cars, half-tracks, self-propelled artillery, and some unarmored vehicles. It also includes more than 10,000 other objects, including anti-tank missiles, early 20th-century armored vests, and Patton’s own ivory-handled Colt 45 “Peacemaker” pistol.

Program 204
In Louisville Life's war special: remembrances of three local WWII veterans, a rare look at life on the home front, a visit to the Patton Museum, and the story behind Kentucky's Medal of Honor Memorial. Plus, learn how a unique collection of local war letters are being preserved for generations.

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