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Fort Whipple Museum

Fort Whipple Museum

—Join the Sharlot Hall Museum and VA staff and volunteers as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the opening of the Fort Whipple Museum.

On May 17th, from 12PM-2PM, the Fort Whipple Museum will celebrate its anniversary with refreshments and interpreters from the Sharlot Hall Museum’s Living History program.

Remarks are scheduled for 1 pm.

FOrt whipple museum reopened!

After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fort Whipple Museum is reopening. Join museum staff, VA staff, and volunteers to celebrate the museum opening back up to the public. Come and learn about the history of medicine and hospital care in Prescott and its close interaction with the military and the development of the Prescott area.

160 Years of Western History

On what is now the grounds of the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Fort Whipple 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.”

Timeline

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.

Thank you for your patience.

Visit Other Historic Buildings

Sharlot Hall Museum campus holds 11 exhibit buildings—eight of which are historic, with one included on the National Register of Historic Places. We invite you to explore these unique pieces of our collection.
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