When the first vehicles and guns of the Patton Museum collection arrived at Fort Benning, there was no facility to properly store them. While a few of the vehicles were stored under cover, for several months the artifacts were stored behind fences in the Harmony Church and Sand Hill areas of Fort Benning. Director Len Dyer and Restoration
Specialist Frank Albano began an earnest search of Fort Benning for any suitable storage area for the collection. The residents of an old motor pool were to soon depart and Mr. Dyer was able to secure the Sand Hill motor pool in December 2011. The motor pool is a historic building since General Patton's Second Armored Division used the motor pool before departing for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The facility has several buildings for storage, workshops and a large paint booth that will accomodate a whole tank.
While vehicles were being moved to the new motor pool, more were coming in from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Fort Snelling and other posts resulting in the fact that most of the vehicles were still parked outside in the elements. In the Spring of 2013, a 80' x 300', 24,000 square foot pavilion was constructed at the motor pool to house many rarer vehicles in the collection. Although the structure does not have sides, the roof protects the vehicles from the rain and sun. Additionally, in May of 2014, another smaller, 16,000 square foot pavilion was constructed adjacent to the first pavilion to house even more of the collection.
On March 27, 2014, a new gallery showcasing armor and armored cavalry exhibits was opened in the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning. An FT-17, M3A1 Stuart and M113 ACAV were selected to be displayed in diorama settings in the gallery. These vehicles along with other exhibits and interactive displays show different facets of armored forces in the U.S. Army through the ages.
The National Armor and Cavalry museum is part of the Armor School and is part of the training armor soldiers receive. Director Len Dyer frequently gives lectures to armor school students on the history, function and strategies of past and current armored vehicles using the collection of vehicles, weapons and ammunition as examples.
It is planned that, when it is built, the National Armor and Cavalry Museum will be a state-of-the-art facility with dynamic and innovative exhibits showing the history of armored vehicle development through the ages. The museum's main mission is to be a learning center for soldiers studying armored warfare concepts at the new Armor Center as part of the Maneuver Center of Excellence. It will present a unique environment that preserves the existing vehicle and weapon collection and present it in a historic context for trainees as well as the public.
While the museum will provide modern storage, maintenance and exhibit capabilities for more than 9000 micro artifacts and 250 macro artifacts in the Armor Collection, it will also provide resources in support of ongoing research and development of doctrine, policy and equipment.
The museum will also take a central role in presenting the history and heritage of the supporting units and organizations of its armored forces and their role in the development of armored warfare. It will also play an important role in Army recruitment and retention.