• Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

    Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

    The mission of the museum and research center is to preserve, interpret and disseminate the story, history and records of New York State’s military forces and veterans.

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  • Sherman Tank Returns!

    Sherman Tank Returns!

    Our Sherman Tank returns to the NYS Military Museum from Fort Drum after a year long restoration, to it's permanent exhibit spot.

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  • CIVIL WAR PAINTINGS | Now on Display

    CIVIL WAR PAINTINGS | Now on Display

    This exhibit will highlight some of the finest Civil War artwork from the collection of the Military Museum on a rotating basis. Click for more details...

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  • A CALL NOT UNHEEDED

    A CALL NOT UNHEEDED

    The exhibit features a dazzling array of militia and National Guard distinctive unit dress uniforms, ballot boxes and decorative bronze trophies that interpret the social organization of the National Guard, original artifacts from the USS Maine, and a carronade captured during the 1857 Dead Rabbits Riot in New York City.

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  • Battleground for Freedom

    Battleground for Freedom

    No less than 120 military engagements occurred on New York soil, more than in any other state, ranging in scale and significance from the decisive Battle of Saratoga to numerous bitter skirmishes and ruthless raids that raged throughout the frontier settlements...

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  • Some Great Past Exhibits

    Some Great Past Exhibits

Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

The mission of Friends is to be a support to the museum, to aid in fund raising for exhibits and displays, as well as assisting in drawing attention to the museum through programs, lectures and events. As the board of trustees, we are the elected board which helps direct the membership to facilitate the support mission of the non profit group.

 

  • First Night Saratoga Dec. 31, 2016 at the Military Museum

    Presented by Saratoga Arts, First Night is a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration of the arts.  From 6PM - 12PM, we fill downtown Saratoga Springs with music, dance, comedy and more.  The theme this year is a "Night of Magic!"

    From 6 to 7PM and 8 to 9PM, the Grafton Street Trio will perform.  They are named for a famous pedestrian walkway in Dublin, Ireland where street musicians entertain passers-by.  The trio performs traditional Irish and other Celtic style music on uilleann bagpipes, fiddles, mandolin and guitar.  The group especially enjoys high energy dance tunes from the Irish and Quebecois traditions and performs in the region for dances and festivals.

    From 7 to 8PM and 9 to 10PM, the Saratoga Soundtrack Chorus will perform.  They are an award winning four part harmony women's a cappella group, sings jazz to ballads to contemporary songs with characterization and choreography.  The chorus has been performing under the direction of Nancy Faddegon since 2008 and is a member of Sweet Adelines International.  

    Prior to the event, you can purchase your button online at www.saratoga-arts.org or several local locations in downtown Saratoga Springs, or you can puchase your button the night of at Saratoga Arts at 3320 Broadway from 9AM to 11PM, and the Lake Avenue School from 6 to 9PM.

    Don't miss this fun event, and also get a chance to enjoy the exhibits at the Military Museum.

  • Ellsworth Civil War Flag

    Just how did a piece of an early Confederate flag get to the Inland Empire in California?

     
    Capt. Elmer Ellsworth (Courtesy photo)
    Capt. Elmer Ellsworth (Courtesy photo) 
     
    This is a 14-foot-by-24-foot Confederate flag, which has been heavily cut by souvenir hunters, that flew over the Marshall House in Alexandria in 1861.   (Image courtesy of the New York State Military Museum, New York State Division of Military and Naval
Affairs.)This is a 14-foot-by-24-foot Confederate flag, which has been heavily cut by souvenir hunters, that flew over the Marshall House in Alexandria in 1861. (Image courtesy of the New York State Military Museum, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.) 

     

    An odd relic of one of America’s most horrific periods will see the light of day Tuesday for the first time in many years.

    The 5-inch-square piece of blue and white cloth will seem rather ordinary to visitors who see it beginning Tuesday at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands. It was cut from an historic flag whose tapestry tells the unhappy story of some of the first deaths of the Civil War.

    The museum opens a two-month-long exhibition, “Over Here, Over There: In Times of War, showing items in its collections from veterans — mostly local men and women — from their times served in the military.

     

     

    The cloth on display at the museum is related to a few tense moments in May 1861 that claimed the lives of two men in a fight over a Confederate flag. Their deaths left each man a martyr to their respective causes early in the Civil War.

    The fabric was believed cut from what is known as the Marshall House flag, a huge Confederate banner that was raised above the Marshall House hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, by its owner James Jackson. It was a time when the Union was disintegrating as Southern states began seceding after Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

     

     

    The 14-foot-by-24-foot flag — with three horizontal stripes and a circle of seven stars — was the first flag designed for the Confederacy, though it was later replaced by the “Dixie” flag, the more familiar symbol of the Southern cause.

    It was a center of attention when Union soldiers were sent across the Potomac from Washington D.C. to occupy Alexandria on May 24, 1861, the day after Virginia voted to leave the union, according to the New York Military Museum.

    The soldiers were led by Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, who among other things had been a law clerk for Lincoln in Illinois before entering the Army. Angered because the flag could be seen across the river at the White House, Ellsworth decided to climb onto the hotel roof and haul it down.

     

     

    Angered by his action, Jackson grabbed a shotgun and killed Ellsworth. Moments later, Jackson was shot and killed by Ellsworth’s soldiers.

    The body of Ellsworth, the first Union officer to die in the war, would later lie in state at the White House. It was then taken with the blood-stained flag to his home in Mechanicsville, New York, for burial. News of his death served as a rallying point for recruiting Union soldiers in the early days of the war.

    That much is known about the flag and its bloody history, but there’s mostly a mystery about how the museum’s 155-year-old piece found its way 3,000 miles west to the Inland Empire.

    According to the museum records, there are no specific details as to who donated it or when. It was unearthed among the hundreds of items donated to the museum over the years when preparations began for the veterans exhibit.

    There was some information attached to the cloth in the form of a tag with the heading, “Piece of the First Rebel Flag Captured.”

    Christopher S. Morton, assistant curator of the New York Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, said the tag suggests it was Ephraim Daniel Ellsworth, the slain soldier’s father, who cut off at least some of the pieces of the flag for friends and family. The elder Ellsworth later was commissioned a captain by Lincoln and served throughout the war.

     

    “For E.D. to have a piece of the famous Marshall House flag does not seem far-fetched,” Morton said via email. “The flag had been heavily ‘souvenired’ at the time.”

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    “I do know that fragments are held by the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian), Fort Ward Museum (in Alexandria) and the Lincoln Presidential Library,” he said.

     

     

    The huge flag itself has been in the possession of military museum since the end of the Civil War. It was briefly on public exhibit in New York in 2011-12, for the 150th anniversary of the incident in Alexandria, but it is not presently on display, Morton said.

    The 1861 killings in the hotel in Alexandria over the flag has been largely forgotten. At the time, though, word of Ellsworth’s death was treated in Northern cities as a national tragedy.

    “His murder was fearfully and speedily revenged,” wrote the New York Times, the day after the incident in Alexandria. “His memory will be revered, his name respected and long after the rebellion shall have become a matter of history, his death will be regarded as a martyrdom, and his name will be enrolled upon the list of our country’s patriots.”

     

     

    The San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, just off the 10 Freeway at California Street. Information: 909-798-8608.

  • Summer 2016 Newsletter

  • Local Public Library donation

    June 8, 2016

    A local  Public Library from the Binghamton area, recently discovered this framed photo in their attic while doing some searching and cleaning.  Through our Facebook site -New York State Military Museum, the library contacted us and agreed to donate this historical photo to the Military Museum.  If you have something in your home or place of business, you would like to donate to the Military Museum, please contact us.  

     

     

     

  • West Point returns bell taken from Philippines church 100 years ago

    By Wyatt Olson

    A massive bell that hung at a chapel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for decades was rung one last time Friday before being sent back to its home: the Philippines.

    After a ceremony and Mass at West Point’s Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel, attended by the Philippine consulate general, the bell was crated up and readied for return to Saints Peter and Paul Church in Bauang, La Union, Philippines.

    The bell was removed from the church in 1901 during the Philippine-American War that lasted from 1899 to 1902. Bells were routinely taken as souvenirs, but at times they were removed for a military purpose – to prevent them from being melted down to make weapons.

    At some point, the bell fell into the hands of Lt. Col. Thomas Barry, who’d been deployed to the Philippines in 1900-01. The West Point class of 1877 graduate, who eventually became its 27th superintendent, gave the bell to his alma mater in 1915. There, it was stored in a church belfry for 44 years before being rediscovered during an expansion in 1959.

    It was then hung outside the chapel, with a placard that read in part: "Symbol of peace that even the ravages of war could not destroy."

    The bell likely would have remained shrouded in obscurity if not for two U.S. Navy veterans who have spent the past few years in a quest to return several bells to the Philippines.

    Dan McKinnon, who lives in Virginia, and Dennis Wright, president of a company developing a portion of the former Clark Air Base north of Manila, met while they were in the Navy. Five years ago, the veterans began working to ensure that the Clark Veterans Cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair, would be maintained by the U.S. federal government.

    With the success of that effort, their interest turned to attempting to repatriate the famed bells of Balangiga, three bells taken by the U.S. Army from the church in the town of that same name. More than 40 U.S. soldiers were killed during a surprise attack there in 1901, to which the Army responded with a bloody reprisal. That history is still being debated, but what’s known is that two of the bells are now at F. E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., and a third is at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea.

    While researching the two bells during a visit to Wyoming, McKinnon learned that another Philippine bell hung at West Point.

     

    "I started talking to West Point all last year," McKinnon said. An inscription on the bells suggested it was from a church Bauang.

    Intrigued with that information, Wright enlisted the help of two professors from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila to research the subject. Consultation with the church records found that the description of the bell matched the one at West Point.

    "We said, maybe that bell should go home," McKinnon said.

    The pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church sent a letter to the Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, West Point’s superintendent, asking for the return of the bell, which had been presented to church sometime between 1877 and 1887, according to its records.

    A couple months later, the pastor received a letter back from Caslen, who concluded, "While we have been honored to guard and display this bell for the past several decades, we would be glad to return the bell to its rightful home."

    "It’s a no-brainer," McKinnon said. "Now it’s going home. It was that simple."

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Twitter: @WyattWOlson

Museum Hours

Tuesday - Saturday | 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Closed Sunday & Monday)

Research Center Hours

Appointments are required.
Tuesday – Friday | 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

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

61 Lake Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 581-5100

Museum Store
(518) 226-0490

Due to staffing concerns the museum
can no longer accept telephone inquiries.

 


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