Where can you see a 100-year-old horse?
The Rock Island Arsenal Museum features exhibits that tell Rock Island Arsenal’s unique story. It opened to the public July 4, 1905, and is the second oldest U.S. Army Museum.
The Ordnance Museum at Rock Island Arsenal was originally established when the Chief of Ordnance, Major General William Crozier, sent 15 boxes of ordnance materiel from Washington, D.C. Weapons from the arsenal’s warehouses, as well as items from the U.S. government display at the St. Louis World’s Fair, were added to expand the original museum display.
The museum was renamed the John M. Browning Memorial Museum November 4, 1959 in “recognition of Mr. Browning’s contributions to ordnance technology and the armed forces.” The museum is known for its significant small arms collection.
On July 1, 1986, the museum was renamed the Rock Island Arsenal Museum to recognize its primary purpose – the arsenal’s story. The phrase “People, Processes, and Products” was coined to explain the important themes in the Arsenal's history.
Rock Island Arsenal has produced an astounding variety of ordnance equipment since the 1880's, and the museum exhibit includes artillery, leather equipment, mess equipment, a paracrate and paracaisson, and the Model 1903 rifle. Even our 100-year-old horse is dressed in artillery harness made at the arsenal!
The museum has a large and impressive collection of foreign, U.S. military and civilian weapons. Over 1,200 small arms are on display today. The collection includes rare and significant items, such as serial number 1 of the Model 1903 rifle, serial number 2 of the M1 Garand rifle, and 5 weapons used by Sioux or Cheyenne at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Admission is free. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays.