As the only place in the country to learn the stories of all veterans, their families and the Fallen, across all branches of service and all eras of conflict under one roof, the newly opened National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) puts Columbus in the spotlight for those with an interest in the military. Whether utilizing the more than 50,000 sq. ft. of space for a military reunion or gathering, or making time during your conference to take in the permanent and rotating exhibition galleries, NVMM offers something for every visitor.

Even better, Columbus offers numerous additional military experiences to supplement and enhance any trip, whether that be adding to a reunion itinerary or extending your trip a day before or after your meeting, convention, trade show or event.

In the same way NVMM offers a compelling look at the stories of our military, Motts Military Museum is dedicated to educating the public on the importance of America’s military past through documentation, collection, interpretation and preservation of tangible items. A trip involving visits to both places offers a fascinating picture of America’s history of military involvement through the combination of hearing firsthand accounts and then seeing actual physical items.

To focus on Ohio’s military history specifically, the Ohio History Center features new displays of military artifacts from 20th and 21st-century service members. Here you can learn more about the stories of the objects and images of the individuals who used them.

Also check out Camp Chase Cemetery, a military staging and training camp established in Columbus in 1861 after the start of the Civil War. The camp was closed and dismantled after conclusion of the war and the site has been fully redeveloped with the exception of the Confederate cemetery that contains 2,260 graves. This location is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Exploration of any number of these sites is sure to work up an appetite, and in Columbus, even lunch or dinner can be military-themed. The 94th Aero Squadron restaurant is full of military memorabilia and aviation relics from WWI and WWII. The restaurant, once a French Farmhouse, is located between runways at John Glenn Columbus International Airport and offers a dramatic view of the arriving and departing aircrafts.

Did you know?cannon

Ohio has made major contributions to our nation’s military engagements for many years, in particular the Civil War, during which Ohio contributed more of its population to the Union Army than any other state. Additionally, many of the blue coats worn by the Union soldiers were manufactured in Columbus.

In fact, a lesser known piece of trivia is that this is how NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets got their team name. At each home game, a veteran or active duty member of the military is honored by the team and fans. If visiting during hockey season, adding a Blue Jackets game to your itinerary and hearing the legendary boom of the cannon after every goal is a highly recommended experience.