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of years of history
Director Michael E. Moss said the museum serves as an academic facility
for the Corps of Cadets, faculty and staff, with collections dating to
the 1777 Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolution.
The museum’s collections encompass the history of West Point and the
U.S. Military Academy, the evolution of warfare and the
the U.S. armed forces. Rare artifacts include George Washington’s
pistols, Napoleon’s sword and a drawing by Grant.
Get a sweeping view of the Hudson River Valley from Fort Putnam, which
was restored in the 1970s. It is open May through September. The fort,
built in 1778 by Col. Rufus Putnam’s 5th Massachusetts Regiment, is one
of many forts constructed during the American Revolution to defend West
Several chapels at West Point offer tourists a glimpse of the past and
present. The Cadet Chapel, a Gothic cathedral of native granite on a
hillside overlooking The Plain, was dedicated in 1910. It contains the
largest church organ in the world.
The Catholic Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity, built in 1899 in the
Norman Gothic style, contains 22 modern stained glass windows depicting
soldier-saints from Christian history. And the Jewish Chapel, completed
in 1984, contains an extensive Judaica collection and library.
There is much to see at West Point, the nation’s oldest continuously
occupied military post, which was declared a National Historic Landmark
in 1960. Many come to capture the flavor and architecture of the
country’s first military service academy. Visitors can watch a cadet
parade on The Plain, learn about the history of the U.S. Army, visit the
graves of military heroes interred at the West Point Cemetery, or admire
more than a dozen military monuments.
Visitors can also take in an Army football game at Michie Stadium, see a
traveling musical, concert or dance performance at the 4,400-seat
Eisenhower Hall Theater or attend a concert by the United States
Military Academy Band.
Still others choose to visit Constitution Island, dine at Hotel Thayer
or enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Hudson Highlands from Trophy
A good place to start a tour of West Point is at the Visitors Center.
Located on the site of the former Ladycliff College Library outside the
main Thayer Gate, the center offers historical and informational videos
and maps, a full-scale cadet barracks room, a movie theater and a gift
The graduates of West Point’s Long Gray Line who emerged as the nation’s
leaders — from Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant to Dwight D.
Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur — are so intertwined with 225 years of
American history that academy officials have adopted the slogan: ‘‘Much
of the history we teach was made by the people we taught.’’
That history is contained at the West Point Museum, behind the Visitors
Center, which by itself welcomes 207,000 visitors and thousands of
school groups each year. The museum contains 45,000 artifacts, from
military arms to military art, and is considered the oldest and largest
repository of military history in the Western Hemisphere.