Discover the Sacrifice and Service of U.S. Military Chaplains in Wartime

The Chaplains Museum will be closed December 15 through January 23 for the LU semester break. We will reopen with regular hours Wednesday, January 24, 2024.

National Civil War Chaplains Museum

Throughout American history, military chaplains have exemplified servant leadership in the midst of the challenges of division and war as they worked to meet the spiritual needs of men and women in uniform.


Located on the campus of Liberty University, the Chaplains Museum features an extensive collection of objects and artifacts that tell the stories of U.S. military chaplains in the camp, on the battlefield, and among prisoners of war. Visitors will learn how chaplains from diverse backgrounds have used a variety of means and methods to carry out their ministry during times of war.


Serving with a Unique Purpose

Founded in 2005 as a private organization, the Chaplains Museum is now part of the History Department at Liberty University. Our mission is to showcase the service of U.S. Military Chaplains throughout American history through historical research and the collection and preservation of related artifacts.

The museum also functions as a student laboratory for research, exhibit design, collections care, and special projects.

The Chaplains Museum:

  • Collects, preserves, and studies objects and documents related to military chaplains
  • Encourages student research in topics related to religion in wartime, specifically in the context of military chaplains and their ministry
  • Presents programs that highlight the role of chaplains and military service in shaping the spiritual lives of those who serve in the armed forces

As part of the History Department at Liberty University, the Chaplains Museum has become an active learning laboratory for students.

Plan Your Visit to the Chaplains Museum

Monday through Friday 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Summer Hours (June, July, August)
Monday, Thursday, Friday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The museum is located in the Jerry Falwell Library on Liberty University’s Campus. Learn more about our location and parking.


Devoted to Service

Historically, U.S. military chaplains have performed many roles. They have preached, acted as personal counselors, cared for the sick and dying, handled military postal services, administered literacy programs, and in some cases even joined in battle. View the following exhibits and more at the Chaplains Museum.

Explore All Exhibits
Introducing the Chaplaincy: A History of Service
Shiloh Chapel: Religion and the Bible in Times of War
Partners in Service: Service Organizations Partnering With Chaplains
Service to the Suffering: Chaplains' Ministry in the Hospitals and Prison Camps
Diversity in Service: Unifying With a Common Purpose
Service on the Battlefield: Chaplains in the Midst of Battle
Service on the Homefront: Chaplains Ministry to the Families of Service Members
Chaplains in the Service of the Gospel: Evangelism in the Military

Take the accessible-friendly route to the Chaplains Museum.


Getting to the Museum

The Chaplains Museum can be found on the terrace level of the Jerry Falwell Library. The Library’s main exterior entrance is located at the southern end of the Academic Lawn.

Visitor parking passes are required daily excluding weekends. For further assistance or questions about the parking policy, see LUPD’s visitor parking information.

For directions to campus, shuttle information, and more, explore the university’s visitor’s guide.

On the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, chaplains at Pearl Harbor were preparing for their Sunday services when the first bombs were dropped. Everything changed. Instead of leading in corporate prayer and hymns and delivering a carefully prepared sermon, chaplains found themselves in a variety of roles that day and in the days to come.
Two of our featured chaplains were present that day, one as a chaplain and the other as a young sailor. Look for our previous post about Chaplain Forgy, famous for saying “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”
As a young sailor, Chaplain Calvin Garner also witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack that day. He helped in the recovery effort, retrieving bodies from the USS Arizona. His experience that day contributed to his decision to enter ministry. After World War 2 he pursued further education and training and reentered the military as an army chaplain in 1958. He would go on to serve in the Vietnam War and beyond.
Take a few moments today to remember those who served on that fateful day and beyond.
Read more about the service and sacrifice of Navy chaplains at Pearl Harbor from the Naval Historical Foundation.

#museum #museums #history #chaplaincy #chaplains #chaplainsmuseum #pearlharbor #pearlharborday #veterans
At Liberty University, chaplains are not just the purview of this museum, but also the students with a passion for service and history. One student, Nathanael Palmer, wrote a blog post as an assignment for his history class. The historical figure he chose to write about was a chaplain, Father Herman Gilbert Felhoelter, who “embodied the spirit of selflessness and courage during the Korean War.”

“As the Korean War unfolded, Felhoelter found himself on the front lines, stationed with the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. The pivotal moment defining Felhoelter's heroism occurred on 16 July 1950, during the Battle of Kum River, north of Taejon, Korea. The 19th Infantry faced a relentless assault by the North Korean People's Army (KPA), and the situation grew dire as the KPA launched a massive attack on the regiment's positions.”
When the route for withdrawal was cut off, Father Felhoelter decided to stay behind with the wounded, continuing his ministry of last rites and prayer. When enemy forces infiltrated the area, they killed all remaining survivors along with their chaplain.

Father Felhoelter was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and his “legacy endures in the hearts of those who witnessed his acts of valor. A tall stone monument in Arlington National Cemetery, known as Chaplain's Hill, stands as a solemn tribute to his memory and the ultimate sacrifice he made for his comrades and his faith. Felhoelter's life and death exemplify the timeless values of courage, selflessness, and compassion, leaving an indelible mark on the history of military chaplaincy.” 

You can read Nathanael’s full post at 

#museum #museums #history #chaplaincy #chaplains #chaplainsmuseum
The Chaplains Museum will be closed December 15-January 23 for the semester break. We will resume regular hours Wednesday, January 24, 2024. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

#museum #museums #history #chaplaincy #chaplains #chaplainsmuseum #museumchristmas
Today marks the 248th anniversary of the birth of the Navy Chaplain Corps. Navy Chaplains serve the U.S. Marines and U.S. Coast Guard as well as the Navy. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all Navy chaplains for their service!

Pictured above: Chief of Chaplains Gregory Todd and a few of his colleagues in high spirits.

#museum #museums #history #chaplaincy #chaplains #chaplainsmuseum #navy #navychaplaincorps
In 2020, The Special Operations Association, a “corporation” designed to uphold the spirit of camaraderie amongst the nation’s special forces veterans and similarly dedicated soldiers, released this statement from their chaplain, one interweaving scripture and history.

When George Washington was asked by Congress in 1789 to “recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed” he knew the probity of the request. Our new nation had, it seemed, indeed been granted the favor of Divine Providence in its establishment. For seven long years the Americans fought an unequal and bitter war with the world’s foremost military and economic power, often losing battles and seeing patriots captured or killed. The long desperate winter at Valley Forge where illness, cold, and a lack of supplies took more men than a major engagement, the loss of New York and Philadelphia to the British, the agonizing wait for allies to enter on America’s side, these and more struggles were overcome with the help of a merciful God. But then it was time to thank Him and so, on October 3rd, 1789, our first President established the last Thursday in November as a day of national Thanksgiving. 

Among the blessings that Washington listed in his proclamation were “for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.” This remains as true today as it was in 1785. The United States has come through many events that have tried us as a nation and, with the help of a beneficent God, has not only survived but prospered.

So before you enjoy that hearty meal, be it turkey and trimmings or your favorite MRE, pause a moment to give thanks to a loving God for all that He has done and continues to do and for the great love that He has shown us in sending His son to save us. You need not be as eloquent as President Washington, but you should be as sincere. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.” Chronicles 16:34.

#chaplainsmuseum #thanksgiving
The museum will be closed November 18-25 for Thanksgiving break. We will resume regular hours Monday, November 27. Happy Thanksgiving!

#museum #museums #history #chaplaincy #chaplains #chaplainsmuseum #thanksgiving


(434) 582-7090


Chaplains Museum

Liberty University Department of History

1971 University Blvd.

Lynchburg, VA 24515