History Museums and Military History Museums – The Differences!

Museums are some of the most fun, educational, and enjoyable places to visit.

Today, there is a museum for almost any interest or age group displaying everything from dinosaur bones to teacup collections.

Among the vast types of general and topical museums in existence, history museums and military history museums are of particular interest to people of all ages who wish to learn more about their country and their country’s role in national and global military operations throughout the years.

Though they sound similar, the two are actually somewhat different. 

Differences in Focus – History Museums

How do history museums and military history museums differ? The biggest difference between the two is their focus. 

History museums are usually collections and presentations that depict the history of a specific location or period in time in a broad sense.

Collections may include period art, artifacts, documents, archaeological findings, and items from everyday life.

These collections may be displayed in a museum building, a historic home or building, or at a historic site.

While history museums may include historical displays related to the military or war if it is related to the location or period on display, this is not the focus of the collection, which is more general. 

Differences in Focus – Military History Museums

On the other hand, military history museums or war museums are focused on presenting only collections related to the different military forces, military events, and different wars and battles.

Military museums typically include collections of military weapons, uniforms, pins, badges, and other memorabilia, different military technology throughout the ages, and military vehicles of different types.

Many also include demonstrations of military vehicles and weapons as well as living history reenactments of military operations or wartime encampments. 

Overall Differences Between History and Military History Museums

While both types of museums can be interesting and educational, history museums provide a broader and more general knowledge about the local or topical history on display, while military history museums tell some of the stories of the different military forces.

For those with a specific interest in wartime and military history, military history museums can provide a deeper understanding of wars and battles, the people who fought them, and how they did it. 


Today, there are many American history museums and local history museums where citizens can learn about times past and the formation of this country, including some great displays about the early wars that were fought.

For a more concentrated look at wars throughout the ages, military history museums offer deeper insight into the military, its advancement and traditions, and its successes and failures over time.