This past weekend we had the good fortune to spend a long weekend in the Chicago area. While there we were able to check out a couple museums housing tanks and armored vehicles. This review examines the tank collection at the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. Cantigny Park opened in 1958, being the creation of newspaper magnate Robert R. McCormick who had established the Robert R. McCormick Charitable Trust and designated Cantigny as a public space for education and recreation. The park has a number of different features, including a museum dedicated to McCormick, extensive gardens, walking trails and a golf course. Also housed on the grounds is the First Division Museum and an outdoor collection of tanks, of which this review will focus on.
McCormick had served as a Colonel in the First Division in WW1, hence his interest in preserving the history of the unit. The museum is not large but is well worth the hour or so it takes to walk through the displays. Walking through the museum, the first thing encountered is a series of mannequins dressed in the various uniforms of the First Division from each major US war. This section then leads to a winding path in which the viewer progresses through each US war in chronological order. The WW1 section is the most impressive, designed to emulate the trenches of WW1, including a replica French Schneider tank.