• Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

    Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

    The mission of the museum and research center is to preserve, interpret and disseminate the story, history and records of New York State’s military forces and veterans.

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  • Sherman Tank Returns!

    Sherman Tank Returns!

    Our Sherman Tank returns to the NYS Military Museum from Fort Drum after a year long restoration, to it's permanent exhibit spot.

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    The exhibit features a dazzling array of militia and National Guard distinctive unit dress uniforms, ballot boxes and decorative bronze trophies that interpret the social organization of the National Guard, original artifacts from the USS Maine, and a carronade captured during the 1857 Dead Rabbits Riot in New York City.

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  • Battleground for Freedom

    Battleground for Freedom

    No less than 120 military engagements occurred on New York soil, more than in any other state, ranging in scale and significance from the decisive Battle of Saratoga to numerous bitter skirmishes and ruthless raids that raged throughout the frontier settlements...

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  • Some Great Past Exhibits

    Some Great Past Exhibits

Welcome to the New York State Military Museum

The mission of Friends is to be a support to the museum, to aid in fund raising for exhibits and displays, as well as assisting in drawing attention to the museum through programs, lectures and events. As the board of trustees, we are the elected board which helps direct the membership to facilitate the support mission of the non profit group.


Navy Coxswain John G. Morrison received the Medal of Honor for service in the Civil War

  imagine it's hard to keep your composure while your ship is being attacked, but that's exactly what Navy Coxswain John G. Morrison did during the Civil War, and it earned him the Medal of Honor.

Morrison was born in Ireland sometime between 1836-1842 — online records reflect a few possible dates, so it's not clear — but in 1855, he immigrated to a town called Lansingburgh in upstate New York, outside Albany. According to the New York State Military Museum, he became a brushmaker, a trade his sister and her husband worked at in Ireland. But he wanted more.


A man with a mustache wearing a wide-brimmed hat and Navy shirt looks at the camera.


Morrison joined the U.S. Navy on July 14, 1857, and was assigned to the USS Wabash, a steam screw frigate. The ship was sent to Panama, where its crew captured an infamous American mercenary, William Walker, who had led expeditions into Latin America to try to establish English colonies under his control. 

Morrison was discharged when the ship returned home, but he quickly reenlisted and was assigned to the USS Relief, a supply ship that returned him to Panama for duty. Once again, he was discharged when he returned home to New York in January 1859.

Never one to avoid conflict, he enlisted in the 30th New York Volunteer Infantry on April 24, 1861, shortly after Fort Sumter, South Carolina, was attacked by the Confederates. The Civil War had begun. 


A ship covered in iron with two flags, two smokestacks and several sailors standing on it sails down a river.


Morrison was sent to Washington, where he volunteered to serve in the western theater of war. He was put aboard the USS Carondelet, an ironclad river gunboat that took part in the campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi, and its eventual siege. The town was the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River of which Union forces were trying to gain control. 

On July 15, 1862, Morrison and his Carondelet shipmates were part of a Union scouting force probing up the Yazoo River when they spotted the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Arkansas. The rebel ship was heading south to Vicksburg to support the Confederate cause. The Carondelet and surrounding ships obviously didn't want it to reach its destination, so they attempted to form a blockade. 

It didn't work well.


An ironclad gunboat billowing smoke or steam rams through a waterway surrounded by an enemy gunboat, a tall ship and another ship. Water is splashing up where ammo has hit he river.


Carondelet was badly damaged in the ensuing fight and forced ashore, with several of its crew members wounded or killed. But during the melee, Morrison managed to make it to the ship's guns and hit the Arkansas broadside as it passed. His presence of mind in such dire circumstances to continue the fight encouraged his shipmates and impressed his commander. It also earned him the newly minted Medal of Honor. 

The siege of Vicksburg divided the Confederacy and became one of the Union's most successful campaigns of the war. 

Morrison later served on the USS Lafayette and, after being discharged a third time, reenlisted for a fourth stint, this time with the 21st New York Cavalry in September 1864. He continued serving in this capacity until the end of the war. 

Morrison died in June 1897. To honor his service, the World War II ship USS Morrison was named for him. His diary was also donated to the Naval Historical Foundation in the 1950s. It currently resides in the Naval Historical Center Library at the Washington Navy Yard.  (Defense.gov).

Museum Hours

Tuesday - Saturday | 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Closed Sunday & Monday)

Research Center Hours

Appointments are required.
Tuesday – Friday | 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

The museum is closed on
all New York State & Federal Holidays.

61 Lake Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 581-5100

Museum Store
(518) 226-0490

Due to staffing concerns the museum
can no longer accept telephone inquiries.


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The museum floor is completely accessible for people using wheelchairs.

There is no admission charge to visit the museum or any of the exhibits.

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