Need a holiday gift idea? Shop online and help preserve 240 years of U.S. Army history

More than 30 million men and women have served in the U.S. Army since its founding in 1775, Army officials say. The Army Historical Foundation has launched an online store to help raise the $200 million needed to build a museum housing that history in Virginia. U.S. Army Contributed
More than 30 million men and women have served in the U.S. Army since its founding in 1775, Army officials say. The Army Historical Foundation has launched an online store to help raise the $200 million needed to build a museum housing that history in Virginia. U.S. Army Contributed
FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA

About 30 miles outside the nation’s capital, an M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle that led the charge into Baghdad, a “Cobra King” Sherman tank that broke the German line at Bastogne in 1944 and other military hardware are being kept under wraps.

Around them, crews are erecting the $200 million National Museum of the United States Army, fueled by public donations and online sales of Army-themed merchandise.

The Army Historical Foundation recently launched the online store, which offers clothing, accessories and special edition items, from a limited number of U.S. Mint-produced, 2011 Army Commemorative Coins to retro-style duffel bags and holiday ornaments commemorating select military campaigns.

It’s a great way to show Army pride to the service member or veteran in your life, while giving back to those who gave their lives for their country, foundation officials said.

The nonprofit foundation has one mission: To preserve Army history, traditions and buildings, while promoting public understanding and appreciation for the service that soldiers have given to the world, from military and humanitarian campaigns to technological and medical breakthroughs.

More than 30 million men and women have worn the Army’s uniform since 1775, foundation officials said.

The museum is expected to open in late 2019 on 84 acres at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. The foundation is raising money for the project. The U.S. Army will own and operate the museum, and the foundation will oversee its activities, spaces and the store.

The museum’s 185,000-square-foot main building will feature 15,000 pieces from the Army Art Collection and interactive exhibits featuring 30,000 artifacts, documents and images, most of which have never been on public display, officials said. Three main galleries – “Soldier Stories,” “Fighting for the Nation,” and “Army and Society” – will cover the Army’s 240-year history of war and peace, from Colonial times to the modern-day wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The campus also will include a memorial garden, amphitheater, parade ground and history trail. Between 500,000 to 700,000 museum visitors are expected to experience the Army’s history each year.

“The Foundation is always looking for new ways for people to get involved with and support the campaign to build the National Army Museum,” said Kerri Kline, chief of operations for the Army Historical Foundation. “The online Museum Store provides soldiers, veterans, their families and supporters an outlet for showing their Army pride while helping build the future home of Army history.”

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb