FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -The One Tank Trips series has been showing off interesting destination around Southwest Oklahoma, but sometimes the destination is already in your backyard.
The Fort Sill Museum was established in 1934, but it has grown dramatically since 2008. Now, there are three separate complexes: the Field Artillery Museum, the Air Defense Artillery Museum and the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum.
It's the largest military museum complex west of the Mississippi, and is in the top five Army-wide in the number of artifacts. Among the more impressive displays, according to director of museums Frank Siltman, is the cavalry barracks.
"This is the most complete Indian wars frontier fort of original structure still in existence anywhere in the nation. The structures were all built from 1869 to 1875, primarily by soldiers of the 10th cavalry, the Buffalo Soldiers. These structures have survived for 145 years and really present a pristine example of this type of life on the frontier," Siltman explained.
You can also trace the development of the Army's weaponry through its modern era with giant displays on the grounds.
"What we provide here is not only great examples of field artillery weapons systems. We have well over 180 weapons systems in our exhibit, air defense artillery, about 100 of those in the exhibit," Siltman said.
Even though the emphasis all over the complex is on the military aspect, Siltman says they're attempting to tell an even wider story with their displays.
"The history of Fort Sill encompasses the whole region. It is literally the history of the Army, the history of Fort Sill, but also the tribes the Army dealt with, the settlers that came that made the state of Oklahoma as well as the nation's region of the united states," Siltman said.
To visit the museum, you'll need to get a pass from the security center at Sheridan Gate, which is a relatively quick process. Easiest access to the museum is through Key Gate, where the MPs can put you on the right path.
It's open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.