The American Armed Forces Tank Museum (AAF Tank Museum) in Danville, Virginia is filled with huge metal pieces of art, so long as your conception of artistry is the beauty found in military tanks.
One such appreciator is William Gasser, the owner and operator of the museum, who has been collecting old tanks since the 1970s - 80s. He opened his current museum in 2003, moving almost 3,000 tons of tanks and equipment to the massive 330,000 square foot space, giving him the room to show off his rolling coffin collection. In addition to appreciating the engineering marvel of the large vehicles, Gasser established the museum to honor all those who died in war, specifically by tanks.
The tanks in the museum hail from just about every era of warfare, ranging from World War I to Operation Desert Storm. Many of them are simply parked as though they are on display in a car collector’s garage, but still others have been placed amongst reconstructed battle scenes, complete with terrain and soldier mannequins. It may be one of the grandest presentations of just TANKS anywhere in America.
Due to funding issues, the museum may not remain in its current home for much longer, but wherever it ends up, the rolling thunder will likely accompany it.
Know Before You Go
The museum is not a celebration of war. A couple of graphic life-size displays may not be suitable for all but they tell the reality of modern war. There are strict rules regarding behavior, so the museum maintains a sense of memorial to those who served, not just Americans. Security is fairly strict upon entry. Most tanks are operational with only the weapons disabled. Museum staff and volunteers working on restorations are very knowledgable.