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Death car at the General George Patton Museum.
Death car at the General George Patton Museum.

Patton Museum: Death Car

Field review by the editors.

Fort Knox, Kentucky

When Fort Knox shipped out most of its old Army tanks in 2011, the General George Patton Museum seemed destined to follow. Instead, the museum was temporarily closed, remodeled, and reopened in 2018 with a tighter emphasis on Patton himself. The result is even more likely to satisfy Patton fans, as the museum now focuses on his quirky relics.

Patton's Ivory-handled revolvers.
Patton's Ivory-handled revolvers.

Patton served as his own curator from beyond the grave; even as a child he carefully saved and labeled artifacts that he thought were important to his life, including his toys. He knew, he said, that some day he would be famous.

The time-aged labels are still visible on many of the relics.

One item on display that Patton did not label was his Death Car; a 1938 Army Cadillac that crashed into a truck in December 1945. Patton was thrown head-first into the glass partition between himself and the driver. He died 12 days later, age 60. People are surprised to learn that he isn't buried in Fort Knox, or even in America, but in Luxembourg, because he wanted to spend eternity near his fellow dead warriors.

Carved General George Patton.
Carved General George Patton.

Other items of note in the museum are a life-size, full-color statue of Patton carved from a single block of wood; the dog tag dog collar of Patton's Bull Terrier, Willie; Patton's ivory-handled revolvers; a footlocker that Patton converted into a mobile bar; a World War I machine gun, the only weapon that ever wounded Patton, which he later had removed from its bunker, labeled, and shipped home; and the saddle of Julio Cardenas, Pancho Villa's second-in-command, which Patton confiscated after shooting Cardenas off of it. Patton then tied the Mexican's body to the hood of his car.

The museum is next to the Gold Depository at Fort Knox, where photography is forbidden. Instead, visitors to the museum can view a model of the Gold Vault in the gift shop. It was used in the movie "Goldfinger."

Patton Museum: Death Car

General George Patton Museum of Leadership

US-31W, Fort Knox, KY
Museum entrance (opened June 2021) is on the east side of US-31W, either one mile south of its intersection with US-60 or one mile north of its intersection with KY-1646.
Tu-Sa 9-4:30 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

M60 A1 Army TankM60 A1 Army Tank, West Point, KY - 5 mi.
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In the region:
Heigold Facade, Louisville, KY - 29 mi.

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