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Military might mingles with pop-culture icons at museum

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National Military History Museum and Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum

Where: 5634 County Road 11A, Auburn
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
Admission: Adults $10; seniors $8; ages 7-12 $6; active military and service veterans $4; ages 6 and under and World War II veterans free.

Center has some 400 oral histories about wars.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:01 am

Only in Auburn can $10 buy a glimpse into military history and a peek at the Batmobile in the same day.

The National Military History Museum, 5634 County Road 11A, Auburn, offers a two-for-one experience with the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum.

In the former, visitors can learn about the United States' conflicts from the American Revolution through the war on terror. In the latter, they can delve into some pop-culture vehicles and artifacts.

The National Military History Museum expanded to include several military conflicts instead of its narrower focus when it was previously known as the World War II Victory Museum.

“We now have literally thousands of artifacts that in the past were in storage,” operations director Tamara Hantz said. “We have more room, and we're looking to acquire more artifacts and vehicles.”

The military history also includes oral interviews with veterans and others. There are some 400 oral histories, and each one is registered with the Library of Congress. Among the museum's goals is to eventually produce an interactive exhibit where visitors can search for a specific military conflict and access an oral history related to that event, Hantz said.

The museum will also host the “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” traveling museum, created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, from June 27 to Sept. 5, with the exhibit being included in the admission price to the museum.

Hantz said the most popular vehicle in the history center is the Hellcat tank destroyer.

“It looks like a tank, but it's not actually a tank,” Hantz said. “It's lighter weight and can travel faster.”

The Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum adds something extra to any visit to the military center.

“I call it eye candy,” Hantz said. “I don't know anybody who can't walk in there and pick out something they absolutely love. It's not as much historical value as it is appeal. We have carriages dating back to the 1700s, and then we have TV and movie-themed items.”

The museums are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and the summer months tend to be busier.

“But this building is so large, you can have 1,000 people in here and you wouldn't run into each other,” Hantz said.