National Park Getaway: Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

By Alison Shoup, Park Ranger, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Hidden in plain sight, along a heavily visited tourist corridor, lay the frontlines of the Cold War.

a missile in an underground silo
Today an unarmed missile sits at the ready in the Delta-09 missile silo.

NPS Photo

A visit to Minuteman Missile National Historic Site begins at its visitor center. There, recently installed exhibits encourage visitors to re-think the Cold War. How many nuclear weapons actually existed during that time period? How did the Minuteman Program defend our country if it was never used in war? Was it top secret? What was a day in the life of a Cold War soldier? To learn the answers to these and other questions, visitors can purchase advanced reservation tickets to tour the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility and its underground Control Center, or ask how to visit the Delta Nine missile silo, where visitors can see a Minuteman II missile preserved in its historic state. A visit in the summer of 2018 will allow visitors to experience a feature film currently in production.

Nearly 25 years after the START Treaty retired 450 Minuteman II missiles, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remain on alert, as a critical component of America’s defense. Nuclear weapons are more relevant than ever in the current changing global political climate. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site provides visitors insight into the U.S. policy of nuclear deterrence— not only how it worked during the Cold War, but how it may prevent global nuclear war among new enemies in the future.

Last updated: September 25, 2018