Fort Whipple Museum
Housed on the grounds of the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Fort Whipple Museum served as a primary tactical base for the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars of 1864 to 1886. A few decades later, Whipple became one of the military’s largest hospitals for the treatment of respiratory ailments, and continues today serving veterans as a VA medical facility.
The Fort Whipple Museum serves as a reminder of the wild, wild West, and as a chronicler of days past to modern medical facility. If you are an historic building enthusiast, you will enjoy touring the vintage 1909 military officer’s quarters for its architectural interest.
If you are piqued by the history of military medicine, the Museum’s exhibits feature medical instruments of the late-1800s, and the treatment programs of World War I veterans suffering from tuberculosis or respiratory recovery from mustard and chlorine gas warfare.
If your curiosity is vintage Army weaponry, Buffalo Soldiers, military maps, photographs and memoirs written by those stationed at this outpost, you’re in for a “Frontier Adventure.”
The fort was named for Lt. Amiel W. Whipple, who led a military expedition into the area in 1853-54 and established the first access routes to nearby gold fields.
For decades, Fort Whipple and its company of infantrymen and cavalrymen protected the Territorial Capital of Prescott, the nearby gold fields, and the early settlers of the frontier. At one time, it was the headquarters for the Military Department of Arizona and tactical headquarters for one-fifth of the entire U.S. Army.
After the cessation of hostilities with the indigenous populations, the military considered its closure until the start of the Spanish-American War (1898). Whipple became a mobilization point for a famous company of cavalry: the Rough Riders. Shortly thereafter, the War Department expanded the site and Fort Whipple was re-activated as a U.S. Army Hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis and respiratory ailments.
By the mid-1920s, Whipple was the fourth largest disabled Veteran’s Hospital in the United States.
Today, Fort Whipple and its resident Museum remain a fascinating “Frontier Adventure” site. The Museum’s exhibits provide a time-capsule look at its life, spanning 150-plus years.
The Fort Whipple Museum is located on the grounds of the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center off of Highway 89.
The Fort Whipple Museum is currently closed to visitors. Due to rising numbers of the COVID-19 pandemic, the VA hospital has once again closed its grounds to visitors for an indefinite period of time. Please check this page for updates.
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