The museum covers the history of 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum. It starts with the native peoples and covers the arrival of the U.S. Army into the North Country of New York. Next, it covers the development of the installation thru present era. The other major theme area is the history of the famed 10th Mountain Division from its inception in the mountains of Colorado and wartime baptism in the mountains of Italy. The exhibit ends with the modern history of the Division, where it becomes the most deployed division in the Army, including numerous wartime tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The first peoples of Fort Drum consisted of Native Americans from the Haudenosaunee confederacy, who we know today as the Iroquoians. Known as the Five Nations, this confederation was comprised of the Mowhawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca tribes and formed a long standing and successful federation. Later it became the Six Nations, when joined by the Tuscarora.
The museum houses several artifacts from this time period, including stone tools and pottery.
US Troops were first stationed in this area at Sackets Harbor during the War of 1812. On the 29th of March, 1813, the British attacked the garrison stationed there and although US forces repelled the attack, the critical supply depot located there was destroyed. After this attack the post saw no further significant action during the war.
Following the War of 1812, Madison Barracks was constructed and used for training purposes up until WWII. With the expansion of nearby Pine Camp, the need for Madison Barracks declined. They were declared surplus in 1945 and abandoned in 1947, never to be used again for military purposes.
Madison Barracks soon proved insufficient for training use. Larger armies, new technology and the logistics of modern warfare required a more suitable area to train. Col. Philip Reade, commander of the 23rd US Infantry Regiment, identified Felts Mills as a promising location. in 1907, the New York Nation Guard made a temporary camp near the area known as Pine Plains and named it Camp Hughes after New York's governor at the time. The site was deemed ideal for training purposes, purchased in 1909 and formally established as Pine Camp in 1910.
The most important event in Pine Camp history, the 1935 Maneuvers, were the largest peacetime maneuvers that had ever been attempted by the US Army. These maneuvers helped train 35,600 soldiers. The 36 hour war games took place over nearly 100 miles of land, which had been leased for the maneuvers.
The 1935 Maneuvers helped the Army pin point problems and gave a young modern army experience with new equipment and new types of warfare.
After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, the Army added 75,000 acres to Pine Camp to accommodate more training. In the process it displaced around 525 families who lived in what is today the training areas. 800 new buildings were quickly constructed for the divisions who were scheduled to train at Pine Camp. These units included the 4th and 5th Armored Divisions, the 45th Infantry Division and the 754th Tank Battalion.
During WWII, Pine Camp also housed Prisoners of War in an internment camp. The first residents were Italians, who were later allowed to join the Italian Service Unit, followed by German PoWs.
Pine Camp was renamed Camp Drum in 1951 after the death of Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum. Lt. Gen. Drum (1879-1951) was the assistant chief of staff to General John J. Pershing and chief of staff, First U.S. Army, in WWI. He was the Army's deputy chief of staff 1933-1935. While commanding First U.S. Army in 1939, Drum was passed over for Army Chief of Staff in favor of George C. Marshall. Promoted to lieutenant general, Drum headed the Eastern Defense Command, 1941-1943 and the New York State Guard, 1943-1945.
In 1971, Camp Drum became a permanent installation and was renamed Fort Drum. In 1985, Fort Drum became the home of the 10th Mountain Division and remains a major training center for reserve components. Covering 107,265 acres, Fort Drum's current mission includes commanding active component units assigned to the fort, providing the administrative and logistical support, supporting active and reserve units in training and planning and providing supporting mobilization of nearly 80,000 soldiers annually.
In 1940, the US Army began to investigate how to fight in both cold and mountainous areas. These efforts were spurred by the Russo-Finnish winter war. A number of civilians within the National Ski Patrol, led by Charle Minot “Minnie” Dole, lobbied the Army and helped in creating a new mountain warfare unit. The 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, was activated on 15 November 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington and was composed of handpicked volunteers recruited by the National Ski Patrol.
In March 1942 the decision was made to activate a full division of specialized mountain troops. The training base for the division was to be Camp Hale, Colorado. Camp Hale was 9,000 feet above sea level with nearby training areas were generally more than 10,000 feet above sea level.
On 15 July 1943, the 10th Light Division (Alpine) was activated, it continued to train for the next year and in November 1944 the division was re-designated as the 10th Mountain Division.
The 10th Mountain Division gained its reputation for being the most deployed division in the Army during the 1990s.
The 10th Mountain Division has continued to be ready to deploy across the globe at any time. Following September 11th the 10th Mountain was one of the first conventional units to deploy to Afghanistan, serving in a variety of command, support and combat roles, to include Operation ANACONDA.
Thought Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, the Division Headquarters deployed five times to Afghanistan while the subordinate brigades have completed 21 deployments through 2014.
Opened by appointment.
Closed on Federal Holidays.
Director: (315) 774-0391
Curator: (315) 774-0253