National Guard Museum & Archives


Worcester Armory, 1891

Worcester Armory, 1891

The National Guard Military Museum and Archives' mission is to collect, to preserve, and to provide access to the material culture of the Massachusetts National Guard and Militia from its inception in 1636 to the present. Archival records and museum displays chronicle the growth of the colonial militia from the 17th century to the modern Massachusetts Army and Air National Guard.

Museum & Archives

The Museum is housed in a historic National Guard Armory in Worcester which was completed in 1891. The castle-like Gothic revival armory is typical of late 19th century armory architecture. Imposing armories were built in most major cities for militia training and weapons storage. The Worcester Armory is on the National Historic Register. 

The Massachusetts Military Museum and Archives was established in 1995. The museum holds the material culture and documents of the Massachusetts National Guard. The most significant records are documents relating to the men and units of the Massachusetts Volunteer Regiments which fought in the Civil War.

Museum holdings also include the archives of the Office of the Adjutant General as well as the military records of Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Militiamen, and National Guardsmen from 1775 - 1940. Military records of Massachusetts servicemen from 1941 to the present are available from the Military Records Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, at (508) 233-7780.

Displays in the museum depict the history of the Massachusetts National Guard beginning with its organization in 1636 as the colonial militia. The Massachusetts militia began the Revolutionary War on April 19th, 1775 at the battle of Lexington and Concord. Massachusetts Soldiers and units played a key role in winning American Independence.

During the Civil War, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Regiments were the first Northern regiments to mobilize, deploy, and shed blood in the Civil War. In World War I, the Massachusetts National Guard provided the largest number of units for the famed 26th “Yankee” Division. The 26th was the first complete U.S. Army division to arrive in France in 1917 and fought in six campaigns. The 26th fought in four campaigns during World War II in battles from France all the way to Czechoslovakia. Since World War II, the Massachusetts National Guard has served in four wars.

Contact Information

The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

Researchers should call at least one day in advance.

Phone: (508) 797-0334
Location: 44 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609