US Army Special Operations Museum Launches New Exhibit

WASHINGTON — On March 14th, 2024, the U.S. Army Special Operations Museum will launch an exciting new exhibit, “Opening the Vaults” at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, formerly Fort Bragg.

Opening The Vaults: Treasures of the Fort Liberty Museums is a temporary exhibit that will present rare and never-before-seen artifacts from the Fort Liberty Museums and historical holdings.

The exhibition is a collaborative effort with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum, 82d Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, U.S. Army Reserve Command History Office, and the 503d Military Police Battalion (Airborne).

ASOM, constructed in 2000, is the first U.S. Army Museum built outside the perimeters of an Army installation. Artifacts from the Fort Liberty Museum Enterprise as well as assets from the U.S. Army Center of Military History (John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum) will be housed together and accessible to the public, in the heart of downtown, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Jim Bartlinski, Director of the Fort Liberty Museum Enterprise, said, “we thought that this would be a good opportunity not only to showcase rare artifacts, and never before seen artifacts, that we have here at ASOM, but also to give folks who necessarily don’t know about the museums on Fort Liberty the chance to see what those museums offer.”

This exhibition tells the story of the Army Reserve, Special Forces, and the 82d Airborne Division.  “So, it is a great collaborative effort for all of us.”

Historical panels were designed for each museum’s section by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum. The 503d Military Police Battalion, the only airborne military police battalion in the U.S. Army provided uniformed mannequins to “guard” the vault, while drawing in visitors to the exhibit.

The exhibit will also feature a “Seek and Learn” activity geared towards interacting with children to learn about the history of the U.S. Army, developed by ASOM’s Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Monk.

ASOM Curator, Jimmie Hallis, said, “The exhibit is a first of its kind at the Fort Liberty Army Museum Enterprise.”

“Everyone (involved in the exhibition) jumped right on board with it. Up until the artifact installation dates, I really didn’t even know what the other museums would bring. The selection of artifacts run the history realm, from the Civil War to the Global War on Terror, there is something for everyone to see,” Hallis said.

To see the exhibit, visit the U.S. Army Special Operations Museum web page for location and operating hours. Go to: and click on the Museums tab.

Story by CPT Janeen R. Phelps

Photos by James Bartlinski

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