(WTVM) – A Columbus landmark is in the running as one of USA Today's 10 Best Free Museums.
The national publication has placed the National Infantry Museum in its top 20 – and viewers can vote to have NIM in the top spot.
"This is [a] great feather in our cap, for a national news organization like USA Today to recognize the Smithsonian-like quality of the National Infantry Museum," LTG (Ret) Carmen Cavezza, Chairman and CEO of the National Infantry Museum Foundation told USA Today. "Having a 10 Best endorsement will give travelers one more reason to discover for themselves how the NIM honors Soldiers and the sacrifices they make preserving our freedom."
NIM opened in 2009 and has been a popular site for families visiting loved ones at neighboring Fort Benning and visitors across the nation.
"People are often surprised to find a museum of this caliber in Columbus, Georgia," Cavezza said. "But Fort Benning has long been known as the Home of the Infantry, and so it made perfect sense for this world-class tribute to be erected right here, where Infantrymen and their families can get immersed in the legacy every day."
The 190,000-square-foot National Infantry Museum contains a collection of nearly 30,000 priceless artifacts documenting the Infantry story, which dates to 1775.
Its signature attraction, the Last 100 Yards, features life-size vignettes of eight of the most important battles in Infantry history.
Galleries tell the stories of the training of a Soldier, the Medals of Honor awarded to Infantrymen, and the sacrifices loved ones make in support of the military.
Era galleries trace the most important periods of Infantry history, engaging visitors of all ages with high-tech, immersive displays. The museum's campus includes an authentic World War II Company Street with seven restored buildings that were constructed on Fort Benning during the build-up to World War II.
There is a Memorial Walk of Honor paying tribute to Infantry units and organizations and a Vietnam Memorial Plaza, featuring a ¾-scale replica Vietnam Wall. Plans are underway for a 2017 dedication of a large-scale memorial to those who gave their lives in the Global War on Terrorism.
Votes can be cast once each day until the contest ends Aug. 29. USA Today will announce the 10 Best Free Museums on Sept. 2.
To vote, click here.