You may know Soldiers and Sailors Hall as that gorgeous memorial on Fifth Avenue in Oakland. It is almost impossible to miss. But did you know that this hall contains one of the city's largest museums dedicated to those who served this country in times of war?
If you didn't you may want to jump into your car to check this one out right away. It is a must see.
An Amazing Collection of Artifacts You Wouldn't Expect to See
If there is one word that perfectly describes the museum at Soldier's and Sailor's Hall, it would be this: comprehensive.
It would be easy for a museum focused on this nation's many wars to put up exhibits about the battles, victories, and losses that shaped the nation and call it a day. But Soldier's and Sailor's Hall goes beyond all of this and puts a focus on honoring the people who, in many cases, sacrificed everything for our great country.
As such, many of the exhibits in the museum focus on stories from individual participants, from as early as the Civil War all the way to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as much as they do the wars and battles themselves.
Whether your interest is learning the history of conflicts in this country, reading stories of notable participants, seeing relics of eras long since passed, or a mix of everything, you really will not be disappointed here (and will likely learn quite a bit in the process).
Take Some Time at Each Exhibit
Normally when we visit a museum we tend to spend more time at only a small selection of what is offered. The reason for this is because most museums offer such a variety of topics under one roof that we often gravitate to our favorites (or the most interesting).
The museum at Soldier's and Sailor's Hall is a bit different than most and their focus on one topic allows it to dive into incredible detail that you simply do not see at other museums.
Want to learn about the Civil War? You can spend a fair bit of time at the exhibits from there. Or what if you want to see artifacts and replicas from Abraham Lincoln's assassination? It is there. How about learning about the use of animals in warfare, both through intimidation techniques (via caricatures on equipment and logos) and in real life? Or medal recipients from Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania over the years? The museum covers all of these and then some.
We could go on and on about the number of topics that are covered at the Soldier's and Sailor's museum, and this is precisely why you need to plan to spend a good bit of time here to truly take it all in.
Call it honoring the troops. Call it learning from past mistakes. Call it whatever you like. But to give this museum anything less than your full attention would be an absolute travesty. And if you're anything like us, in giving Soldier's and Sailor's Hall your time and attention you'll walk away with a bit more respect for all those who serve, and apprehension about the prospect of wars that could possibly come in the future.
Soldiers and Sailors Hall is located at 4141 Fifth Avenue in Oakland.
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