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Uncovering the Fascinating Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick, PA

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I always love finding small museums that highlight a single obscure aspect of Pennsylvania’s history, and the Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick is a perfect example.

The Stuart Tank Memorial Museum highlights the Stuart M3 Light Tank, a workhorse of the early years of World War 2, both for American forces and for the Allies as a whole. In fact, of the 15,000 Stuart tanks made in Berwick, 10,000 were used by other countries during the war.

These tanks were made in the American Car and Foundry Factory in Berwick from 1941-1944 and employed over 9,000 workers, many of whom were women. The factory was also the largest producer of armor-plate in the United States and even had its own ballistics range for testing.

Exterior of the Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick PA
The Stuart Tank Museum is a fascinating local history museum.

Interestingly, the factory was so important to the war that it made Germany’s list of 19 East Coast targets to hit if they had been able to bomb the United States.

After many years of work, the Stuart Tank Memorial Museum opened to the public in April 2022. This small three-room museum occupies an old synagogue, though you’d never be able to tell that from the design of the space. There are plans to expand the museum’s space in the future as time and money allow.

Model of a Stuart tank in Berwick PA
A model of the Stuart Tank on display at the museum.

I had a chance to check out the museum in December 2022 while visiting Columbia County for the popular Berwick Christmas Boulevard, which is held a few blocks away during the holiday season.

Despite not being a huge museum, there is a ton to see here. In fact, I was told that the collection keeps growing as locals donate items related to both the Stuart Tank, as well as general World War 2 items. Some of these items are on display, and really add a lot to the collection here.

The star of the museum is their Stuart M3 Light Tank which is on permanent loan from the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. This tank, which was made in Berwick, is in incredible condition and was used in the Pacific Theater during the war.

Stuart M3 Light Tank sitting inside the Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick Pennsylvania
The museum’s Stuart M3 Light Tank.

Being able to walk around and really examine this tank is definitely a neat experience and something that I quite enjoyed. Just be aware that there is very little room around the tank, so you can’t really step back and admire it.

Make sure to take a few minutes to talk to the volunteers at the museum as they do a great job explaining how to tank was made and some of the details about how it worked.

A look inside the Stuart M3 Tank at the Stuart Tank Museum in Columbia County Pennsylvania
A look inside the Stuart M3 Tank.

While the Stuart M3 Tank is the star of the show here, there are a ton of other things to see within this space, some of which relate to the production of tanks in Berwick and others that are just generally related to World War 2.

Next to the tank, there is a section that highlights both the American Car and Foundry Factory and the workers that were employed there during the war. While I obviously knew that many factories around the country were converted to assist with the war effort, it was interesting learning more about how that actually worked and the impact made by this specific factory.

Items on display at the Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick PA
There are a lot of other interesting pieces on display in the museum.

The second large room in the museum has some additional information on Stuart tanks, including a few small models, but also contains many items about World War 2 in general. These include a large number of medals, uniforms, and weapons. Some of these were used by local residents, while others were trophies of war brought back after the war.

These pieces offer a great look into the history and story of the war, and I really enjoyed learning about some of the pieces that were highlighted by the volunteers, who were more than happy to show me around the museum during my visit.

model tanks on display at the Berwick Tank Museum in Columbia County PA
More displays in the museum.

Overall, the Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick is a fascinating spot to visit whether you like military history, local history, or just checking out small museums. Even better, as one of only two museums in the state specifically dedicated to World War 2 (The other being the Eldred World War 2 Museum in northern PA), this spot offers a bit of history that you aren’t going to find at many other spots in PA.

Definitely add this to your list of spots to check out in PA’s Susquehanna Region!

Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out Little Shickshinny Falls, Bill’s Old Bike Barn, and the historic covered bridges in Columbia County.

Want to uncover more military history? Visit the U.S. Army Heritage Center, the Pennsylvania Military Museum, the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum, and the Soldiers and Sailors Museum.


Stuart Tank Museum

Hours: Tuesdays: 11a-5p
Fridays: 2p-8p
Saturdays: 11a-5p

Cost: Free
Donations accepted

Website: BerwickStuartTank.org

Address: 309 N Vine St
Berwick, PA 18603

 

See map below for other area attractions.




More nearby places worth exploring

Find more things to do in the Susquehanna Region

2 thoughts on “Uncovering the Fascinating Stuart Tank Museum in Berwick, PA”

  1. Hi Jim! On your recommendation we visited the Stuart Tank Museum on Tuesday. Like you, my husband and I love to prowl around small museums. They capture the essence of the heart of America. Pennsylvania seems to have its share, doesn’t it?
    Thanks for doing the research for us. JoAnn

    Reply

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