Military history is on display in the large museums across the nation but finding information on things more close to home can always be a little more difficult. But just south of Franklin, Indiana sits Camp Atterbury, an active military base that seems to take over the landscape as you drive by. But if you take a few minutes to stop, let the tanks and Jeeps pass you by there is a great opportunity to learn about the area’s part in several different moments in military history as well as what they’re doing now.
Off of East North Street just south of Franklin you will find the Camp Atterbury Welcome Center. Inside is a free museum that covers the engagements that the camp has deployed to over the years and other significant moments it has had in history. Be on a lookout for the camp’s connect to the Berenstain Bears!
We were greeted by the public relations officer who not only gave us directions to the other spots on their property that are open to the public to explore, but gave us a private tour of the museum. Filled with historical artifacts as well as personal ones, the museum gives you an eye opening tour of what all has been done by this smaller military base. Guests get the opportunity to see the evolution of technology and fatigues through the decades as well as even try some on at the end. The museum portion is ever growing and right now they’re even working on a section dedicated to the women that have made a difference over the years.
After visiting the museum, head up the road a bit and stop off to see the War Memorial as well a full scale equipment ready for you to take pictures with. From tanks to helicopters and other vehicles, there is plenty that will make a great photo opportunity.
Hidden off the road some is the formal location of the POW camp that used to be on the property of Camp Atterbury during WWII. While most of the property has been taken back by nature, the roads are still cared for and one building still remains. After the war, Italian immigrants that were held in the camp and now called the area home came back and build the POW chapel. This building has been cared for and restored over the years, but is still a destination for POWs today.
Visiting Camp Atterbury isn’t a quick trip off the main highway, but the free museum and history lessons are worth the hours you will spend exploring.
The Camp Atterbury Welcome center is at 2949 E North St, Franklin, IN 46131. Take the type to visit the museum and continue to the outdoor museum just up the road, or visit the POW Chapel on the property.