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How "Section T" Took Down a Nazi Superweapon and Helped Win the Battle of the BulgeAs you descend the American Heritage Museum's central staircase, be sure to look up to see our "Doodlebug" - one of the several nicknames (buzzbomb, Maybug) given to the V-1 rockets launched on England after the D-Day invasion. From June 1944 to March 1945, the Germans launched 6,725 V-1 rockets at Britain from launch pads in France and the Netherlands. Of those, 2.340 hit London causing 5,475 deaths with nearly 16,000 injured. While the RAF had some early success in downing Hitler's flying bombs, the superior speed of later V-1 models required new approaches to air defense. The most effective solution came from the top secret project of US engineers and scientists led by Johns Hopkins physicist Merle Tuve who comprised what was known as "Section T" of the US Army Research Laboratory. After three years of intensive research and testing, Tuve's team developed the VT (Variable Time) Proximity Fuse, a device that alerted an artillery shell when to explode. By August 1944, Allied forces were shooting nearly half of the V-1 rockets out of the sky, and by the end of the summer, their success rate neared 100%. The last V-1 launch site in the Netherlands was overrun on March 29, 1945.Allied artillery commanders in Europe were anxious to utilize their stockpile of new shells equipped with radio proximity fuses. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and Allied leadership in Europe were reluctant to use the proximity shell against German ground forces. If the Nazis recovered a dud, which they would, they could reverse-engineer the invention and use it against the Allies - and share it with the Japanese. Dr. Vannevar Bush, chairman of the National Defense Research Council, convened a panel of scientists, including Tuve, that determined it would take the Germans at least 27 months to replicate and mass-produce their own proximity shell. Eisenhower then ordered that the shells could be used starting on December 25.However, on the morning a December 16, 1944, Colonel George Axelson, the commander of the 406th Artillery Group, had a difficult decision to make. The Germans had just launched an offensive along an 80-mile front in Belgium and Luxembourg that would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. Axelson decided that the emergency trumped Ike's restrictions and ordered his gunners to use the new shell. The German attack in his sector collapsed. Beginning on December 18, the U.S. First, Third and Ninth Armies unleashed the most devastating artillery fire German troops had ever encountered. Across the Ardennes, the VT fuse became the weapon of choice, particularly at night, in the open and through fog. Shells were showered on German troops crossing critical road junctions, bridges and highways.The development of the proximity fuse was one of the best-kept secrets of WWII and is regarded by many as the third most important technological achievement after the Atomic bomb and Radar. ... See MoreSee Less

1 hour ago  ·  

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Greetings from AHM! A reminder we will be open Monday, January 17th celebrating MLK Day. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and upcoming Black History Month we have moved the Tuskegee PT-17 Stearman into the museum and is on display. This is the last flying Stearman that was used to train Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. Amazing history! See you soon. ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago  ·  

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Hello everyone on a snowy Friday, January 7th! The museum IS OPEN today from 10am to 5pm but we ask all visitors to exercise caution on our entrance road as we try to keep up with the snowy and slippery conditions. Remember that your car isn't an M24 Chaffee and doesn't handle as well in the snow! (video taken last year, alas we are not driving the M24 today)www.facebook.com/1823762134370546/videos/3869937883086284 ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago  ·  

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Join Liberty Lou on a behind the scenes tour through the American Heritage Museum's maintenance shop. Learn about AHM's tank driving and ride programs. See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwkOi6qGJEY ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago  ·  

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Capital Campaign 2018

Since 1979, the Collings Foundation has led the way in the creation and operation of the nation’s most engaging living history events focused on aviation, military, and transportation history. Through nationwide programs like the Wings of Freedom Tour, the Vietnam Memorial Flight, and the annual local events at our Stow, Massachusetts headquarters, we have directly impacted millions of people.

The Collings Foundation is nearing completion with one of our most ambitious projects to date – construction of the new American Heritage Museum at the Collings Foundation campus in Stow, MA. Designed to world-class museum standards, the facility displays 85 of the most historically significant military vehicles and equipment from the Jacques M. Littlefield collection in an immersive and engaging environment, bringing history alive for visitors. The 73,000 square foot facility is a major addition to our Stow, MA facility and the American Heritage Museum will host visitors from all over the world and be an educational facility that is open each week to school children, educators, researchers, and the general public.

  

Your Support is Needed!

Though the construction of the American Heritage Museum is moving forward at a rapid pace, there is still a lot more to be done – and we need your help.

The American Heritage Museum is designed to be different than other museums. While many museums focus on the major artifacts alone, the AHM focuses on the story of warfare as seen through the eyes of those who fought and the artifacts become the catalysts for discussion, education, and understanding. Through the hard work of our design and curatorial team, the immersive educational experience will be unique for all who visit.

Such an ambitious project comes at a cost – and your help is critical to our success!

The extensive research, design, production, and construction of the display environment requires time and capital to complete to transform the collection into the world-class vision of the American Heritage Museum. Your generosity provides the momentum needed to open the American Heritage Museum in late 2018!

 

How Can I Help?

The American Heritage Museum Capital Campaign is underway. As a 501c(3) non-profit educational foundation, every dollar donated to the Collings Foundation toward the AHM Capital Campaign is tax-deductible. You may make a one-time donation, or a monthly sustaining donation online at the link below:

To make a donation to the American Heritage Museum Capital Campaign, please visit the link here.


American Heritage Museum Founders Society

A variety of giving opportunities for both individuals and corporations are available to help fund the display build-out. Individuals may become members of our Founders Society to take their donation even further and receive permanent recognition, valuable benefits for experiences with the operating artifacts, and exclusive access once the museum is complete in 2018.

To become a member of the AHM Founders Society, please click here.


Naming Opportunities and Corporate Sponsorship

Corporations, foundations, or family trusts may wish to consider a naming opportunity for funding a gallery, exhibit, or theater – thus creating a lasting legacy to be seen by millions. There are a number of naming opportunities available

Just as our American citizens have stepped up to support our nation in wartime, we know that dedicated supporters like you will also step up to fulfill the need. Support our American Heritage and please donate today!

Contact Us for Information on All Opportunities

For more information on all giving opportunities, please contact Ryan Keough, Director of Donor Relations and Development at 978-562-9182 or rkeough@collingsfoundation.org. To give a donation online, please visit this link to the American Heritage Museum Capital Campaign.

Be part of our American Heritage – Give today!


Please mail checks to:

Collings Foundation
Attn: AHM Capital Fund
P.O. Box 248
Stow, MA 01775

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Friday, January 7 - Museum Open, but Exercise Caution Driving In

We are open today, Friday, January 7th from 10am to 5pm, but we ask visitors to drive very slow on our main entry road as the winter storm has made conditions slick. Thank you!