John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex Fort Leonard Wood, MO

The entrance to the museum complex at Fort Leonard Wood

  • S. Army Engineers Museum
  • S. Army Military Police Museum
  • S. Army Chemical Corps Museum
  • Military Vehicle Park

Fort Leonard Wood hosts three commands that are essential to the functioning of the Army – the U.S. Army Military Police,  the U.S. Army engineering battalions, and the Chemical Corps. . Museums on these three branches are found in one building, the handsome red-brick Mahaffey Museum Complex on Fort Leonard Wood.

Start your day with the Army Engineer’s Museum and explore the numerous exhibits that show their handiwork and explain their role in support of our frontline soldiers.  Often confused with the Corps of Engineers (which they are not), the Army Engineers are combat trained soldiers who build barracks, erect pontoon bridges, clear land mines, and even build defensive revetments. Dioramas with mannequins show them building bridges, riding combat bulldozers ,and erecting other structures.

The Chemical Corps Museum  is your next destination. Maps, photographs, and dioramas depict the chilling effects of chemical weapons on WWI soldiers, and how the Army learned to defend against them. There is an extensive collection of gas mask and chemical suits and a Doomsday Truck that was designed, presumably, to protect the last surviving humans against anything toxic left in the air after a major biochemical attack.

Last stop is the Military Police  Museum with surprising facts and info –for instance, we all know that MPs directed traffic and picked up soldiers who’d had one too many, but did you know they also controlled  Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin during the Cold War (there is a section of the Berlin Wall here for you to see), directed traffic over the battle-damaged WWII bridge at Remagen, and escorted celebrities who traveled overseas to entertain our soldiers?

A key part of any visit here is the a large and excellent outdoor display of tanks and armored vehicles complete with combat  bulldozers,  and – you guessed it — MP vehicles. The Military Vehicle Park  is anchored by six fully restored WWII-era barracks one each themed to show a soldiers life during our nation’s conflicts. The Vehicle Park has  an armored bulldozer, an armored steam shovel, several self-propelled and towed artillery pieces, tracked vehicles for combat engineers, multiple rocket launchers, a Vietnam-era RPB river boat (with an “MP” on the side), a Huey,  and more.  Each piece has been fully restored to their period colors and markings and are in tip-top condition.

All three museums use well-built dioramas and tableaus to tell their stories. Before you leave be sure to visit the  gift shops in the main building.

Hours:      Mon. – Fri.:  8am – 4pm

Saturday:  10am – 4pm

Closed:  Sunday

Visit museum website

For hotels, we recommend Hotels.com