Camp Blanding is a historic and still active North Florida National Guard installation bustling with activity and troops. Just outside the main gate, however, in a 1940s-era guest barracks, resides Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park.
Camp Blanding Museum traces the history of both Camp Blanding and the Florida National Guard. The two-story building is surrounded by massive armaments from World War II. These include an M3 Half-Track, and an M16 Half-Track, and an M4 Sherman Tank. Wow!
Sobering and stirring memorials are also here, honoring recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, and former Prisoners of War. There are also monuments to Florida National Guardsmen, the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and all other infantry divisions who trained here.
Inside the museum, you’ll find interesting and thorough exhibits covering all aspects of military life and conflicts. Artifacts, photographs, weaponry, uniforms, and more are all on display. There is even a dog-tag machine and an entire military Jeep. One exhibit explores the lives of German prisoners of war who were held here during WWII.
Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park was founded in 1990. Its mission a simple one: to collect and preserve artifacts related to the history of the camp and hundreds of thousands of troops who trained here. Since its founding, 80% of all items on display at the museum have come from civilian donations.
Camp Blanding opened in 1939 as a training facility for Florida’s National Guard. With the advent of WWII, the facility’s purpose was expanded. Nine full Infantry Divisions trained at Camp Blanding, including, among others, the famous including the 1st Infantry Division, more commonly called The Big Red One.
All throughout WWII, Camp Blanding trained infantry, cavalry, engineers, medical, and other specialist troops. The camp was also an Infantry Replacement Center during 1944 and ’45. The Camp was also home to a 2800-bed hospital and served as a Separation Center near the war’s end. Today Camp Blanding is a Joint Training Site for the National Guard, Reserve forces, and active duty troops.
Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park
5629 SR 16 West, Building 3040, Starke, Florida 32091
Open daily, Noon to 4pm
(Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Camp Blanding Museum Lodging
Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast is located on the shores of a beautiful, natural cypress lake just 20 minutes drive from Camp Blanding Museum. In fact, our convenient, North Florida location has you just 14 miles from Gainesville Regional Airport and just a little over 20 from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, home of the Gators. Best of all, our contemporary A-frame offers comfortable guest rooms, warm hospitality, and a waterfront and a dock for your recreation. Book your stay at Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast today!