After decades of planning, the U.S. Army has announced plans to open a national museum in northern Virginia next year.
Army officials announced Wednesday that the National Museum of the United States Army will open on Fort Belvoir on June 4, 2020.
The museum will be will be the first in the nation to tell the branch's 244-year history. It will be on a publicly accessible section of Fort Belvoir.
The first artifact to be installed was an armored personnel carrier used in the Iraq War in 2003. It’s so big and so heavy, crews needed to place it in its permanent display location in 2017 before building the museum's walls around it.
The Army is the only military service without a national museum. Museum officials expect 750,000 visitors annually in the first year.
Groundbreaking on the 185,000-square-foot facility began in 2016.
Fort Belvoir was chosen as the site for the museum in 2011. Since then, the planned opening date has been postponed multiple times.
"This museum will give the American people a look at their history through the eyes of the men and women who have served this country selflessly since the 1600s," Chairman of the Board of the Army Historical Foundation Gen. Gordon Sullivan said.