"The mission of the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum is the collection and preservation of objects, the research and installation of quality exhibits and the presentation of interactive interpretation of the military, social, political, cultural and economic history of Fort Sill and its vicinity from the Dragoon Expedition in 1834 to 1920. Several Native American tribes are an integral part of the history of Fort Sill and will be considered irrespective of the chronology.
The purpose of the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum shall be the education of Soldiers and Leaders and the edification of Military families and the general public."
The US Army Field Artillery & Fort Sill Museum was established by direction of the Chief of Field Artillery on December 10, 1934 and formally opened in January 1935. The dual mission of preserving the history of both the Field Artillery and of Fort Sill was identified from the beginning. Captain Harry C. Larter, a Field Artilleryman, military artist, and historian was the first curator. Larter made use of an old artillery teaching collection of military items which had been brought together at Fort Sill in 1919 and stored in a warehouse for a number of years. Captain Wilbur S. Nye was given the task of compiling and writing the history of Fort Sill as a joint action. The old guardhouse was selected as the building to house this material for interpreting the history to the public and it served as the main museum building for many years.
The acquistion of additonal space was required to accommodate the museum's increase in vistors, exhibits and donations and on 4 October 1958, the Quartermaster Corral was added to the complex. Exhibits within this area included a replica Trader’s Store, a Wichita grass house, and a Conestoga wagon. The Comanche County Historical Society also set up frontier displays in this facility until 1961 when they were relocated to Lawton and became the Museum of the Great Plains.
During the 1960s the Quartermaster Storehouse was opened featuring artillery exhibits from the Revolutionary War period to 1900. The adjacent Commissary Storehouse building exhibited the history of the US Artillery from 1900 through the Korean Conflict. In addition, the “Cannon Walk” was created as an outdoor display of U.S. and foreign artillery pieces. By the 1970s, the museum had grown to include several additional buildings such as the first headquarters for the School of Fire for Field Artillery.
One of the two original Infantry Barracks was decorated as the “Hall of Flags”. The original Post Headquarters building, constructed in 1870, housed the museum collection offices and archival records during the 1970s. Finally, the first Post Chapel was assigned to the museum during this time to protect it from over-development.
Several additional facilities of the original historic post were added to the museum during the 1990s, including a second Infantry Barracks on the southwest corner of the Quadrangle; three cavalry barracks and associated outbuildings on the west side of the Quadrangle; and the only surviving balloon hangar on Fort Sill at the Henry Post Army Airfield.
The museum continued to shift its vast holdings and functions to more appropriate facilities in order to continue meeting the required standards of the museum profession. It became evident that the historic buildings would not allow for displaying artillery as most of the artillery collection was either displayed outside or was in deep storage where the public could not see it.
By 1998 a new initiative known as Project Millennium established new objectives for the museum and included the construction of a separate US Army Field Artillery Museum, which was completed in the spring of 2008. As the new Field Artillery Museum neared completion, plans were developed to separate the mission of the museum into two distinct missions (Field Artillery and Fort Sill). With this separation of museums, the staff of the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum were able to turn their attention back to the historic post area. Today, the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum occupies 38 buildings, with a total of 144,514 square feet of exhibit and storage space, a total collection of over 235,000 objects, and covering 142 acres in the Historic Landmark area.