I can go all over the Chicagoland area where I live and never see anyone I know. Then I come to Europe, see my husband in Amstelveen next to Amsterdam – drive to Bastogne, Belgium where we run into a Dutch friend at the 101st Airborne Museum. It’s crazy! Last year I even met up with a Missouri friend when she and her husband were in Germany and Luxembourg last summer. I have to go half-way around the world to see people I know from home. But really – almost every time I stop in the 101st Museum we see someone we know. It is a mecca for WWII researchers.
The 101st Museum has thousands of artifacts on display. I’ve been to the museum at least half a dozen times since 2015 and they are constantly updating and changing displays and exhibits. Nice to see things rotate through.
The exhibits are very realistic. Warning – in the basement of the building there is an area draped off with a military blanket that shows an aid station. It is very bloody. The soldiers depicted in the museum are based off a real person – you will even see Vince Speranza, 101st veteran in the museum exhibit as a soldier.
There is a bomb shelter experience that will blow your mind. On my first trip to the museum in May 2015 – over two days of visiting, I think I sat through the experience about 11 times. I sat on different benches in the room, with people and alone, and stood in the middle of the room which created such an intense dizzying effect I couldn’t believe it. My second trip Oct 2015 I sat through it about 7 times – again in different locates and with and without people in the shelter. It is a different experience depending on where you sit and who is there with you. This time we sat through it, Hans van Kessel, the owner changed the soundtrack to have Vince Speranza speak at the beginning. I think too he made the experience a bit longer and more intense. It was incredible as usual.
There are always people wandering the museum – Europeans and Americans so you are certain to make a new friend or greet an old one when you visit. It is my favorite Bastogne Museum and I think everyone should visit. You can view some photos in the gallery below.
Have you been to the museum? What happened when you were there?
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