About seven miles north of Little Falls is Camp Ripley, an active military camp run by the Minnesota National Guard. It’s located on the site of historic Fort Ripley, an 1849 outpost which existed until 1877. Camp Ripley is the home of the Minnesota Military Museum, an extensive collection of military equipment, weapons, memorabilia, uniforms, and personal stories from Minnesota statehood in 1858 to the present.
After passing an ID check at the main gates of Camp Ripley, we drove straight ahead to the museum. The grounds of the museum are scattered with tanks, planes, and helicopters just outside the entrance.
Several other military vehicles, including jeeps and medical transport, are kept behind the museum on concrete pads and in old storage buildings.
The museum had a great sense of humor with the latrine. They put a mannequin sitting on a toilet.
The main part of the museum is all indoors and has an incredible exhibit. It could take a few hours to see everything but I spent about an hour seeing what interested me most. The museum was very well-organized and stuffed to the gills with artifacts, photos, memorabilia, and more from every major American war since Minnesota statehood. Personal stories were documented as well, especially in the Vietnam War section.
One room was dedicated to the Civil War and Minnesota’s role. It covered everything from famous battles to prisoner camps, slavery, and the 1862 Dakota War.
Near the highway is the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery. I stopped in to pay my respects, take a look at the memorials, and enjoy the beautiful setting.