On July 4th, 1999 a new journey began when the Freedom Museum first opened its doors to the public. The museum temporarily resides in an unused air terminal building at the Manassas Regional airport. It is only fitting that a place where man can soar freely into the open skies become a site dedicated to those who defend the freedoms we so openly enjoy in this country. The museum, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is more than a collection of timelines and facts. It provides a personal and emotional experience for guests of all ages and backgrounds.
To understand where we are as a country today, we must all appreciate what has come before us. The Freedom Museum presents us with the full spectrum of emotions brought on as our nation has struggled for that which we hold so dear - from the highest highs of patriotism during WWII pro-war "support our troops" propaganda posters to the lowest points of despair and loss experienced in photographs directly from the battlefields. Visitors can't help but ride the tides of joy as famous newspaper headlines declare victory on one wall, while the next displays graphic photos of the hardships suffered by soldiers experiencing life and death in defense of our country.
Starting with the Spanish American War beginning in 1898 and moving right up to the present day conflict in Iraq, one can't help but notice that even though the technology has changed, the most important element, the human component, has not. Though the faces in the photos may differ from conflict to conflict the emotions always remain the same. Pictures capture the determination in the heat of battle, the fear of uncertainty, the comraderie between soldiers, the comraderie on the battlefield, the fear of uncertainty for the POW, the compassion of those aiding the injured, the passion of victory, the joyous reunions of the soldiers returning home and the anguish of the families of the soldiers who never made it back. Regardless of your political feelings, you can't help but be moved by the images before you. The Freedom Museum reminds us that there are brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, parents and children behind that all too impersonal concept of "war".
The museum, much like our country's freedom itself, is a constant work in progress. Its current home is only the beginning. The final goal of the museum is to build a facility adjacent to the airport which will house permanent displays, as well as special exhibits to commemorate events such as the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Freedom Museum is a great place to honor those who have sacrificed much and to insure that their legacy is not forgotten. Though its current location is only temporary, I can assure you that the memories you take away from you will last a life time.
Hours: Monday - Saturday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Sundays: noon to 4:00pm
From I-66, take Exit 44 (Rt 234); South to Rt 28 N; right on Godwin Dr; right on Gateway Blvd to Terminal Rd.
From I-95, take Exit 152N (Rt 234); left on Hastings Rd in Manassas; left on Gateway Blvd to Terminal Rd.