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Can Civilians Go On Arsenal Island? (Rock Island Arsenal)

Arsenal Island, also known as Rock Island Arsenal, is the most significant US government weapon manufacturing arsenal neatly tucked away on the Mississippi River in Illinois. The island is used for the military but has a fascinating history, so regular civilians may wonder if they can visit this historical landmark.

Arsenal Island allows civilians to visit and has a museum rich in US military history. You must apply for a visitor’s pass to visit the island, and a clean criminal record. A valid reason for visiting must be provided when completing an access form, which will need reviewing before a pass is issued.

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How Do Civilians Visit Arsenal Island?

Rock Island Arsenal welcomes visitors who must provide valid identification, such as a card or driver’s license, and have an issued guest permit. The Moline Gate Visitor Center is where all first-time guests check-in. Visitors are to fill out a form to receive a guest permit. 

How Does A Person Get A Visitor’s Pass To Access Arsenal Island?

Visitors need a Common Access Card upon entering Arsenal Island. If the visitor does not have one yet, the completed application form must be provided, along with official identification. The application is available on the US military’s website, and an additional criminal background check is conducted before allowing entry.

How Do You Get Onto Arsenal Island?

Seven entry points to the Rock Island Arsenal are accessible to civilians. Visitors need their valid ID, active insurance, and vehicle licensing to be allowed entry. Visitors who do not have a Common Access Card need to enter via the Moline Bridge and sign in at security building number 23.

Are Foreign Nationals Allowed To Visit Arsenal Island?

Foreign nationals are not permitted onto Arsenal Island unless they visit for official business reasons and have access permission. The US government cannot definitively process international criminal background checks on foreign nationals, as the process is complicated, which is one of the main reasons their entry gets denied.

What Can A Person Do On Arsenal Island?

Arsenal Island attracts visitors that are interested in its rich history. The Rock Island Arsenal Museum is the main attraction, which exhibits the island’s history and weapon-making processes, hosting a viewing of over 1,100 weapons that the US military used. The island also has memorial parks, cemeteries, and interesting government buildings.

aerial view of the rock island arsenal
CC0 Aerial view of the Rock Island arsenal

What Is The Purpose Of Arsenal Island?

The purpose of Rock Island Arsenal is to offer manufacturing and logistical assistance to the US Armed Forces. The factory makes a variety of military goods, including vehicles, explosives, guns, recoil devices, artillery units, and components for aviation weapons. Additionally, the base also houses Federal and other private offices.

Why Do You Need A Clear Criminal Record To Get Onto Arsenal Island?

Background checks allow security to determine whether visitors have any factors s that would prevent them from entering the island, such as active warrants or prior offenses. It’s a strategy to create a safer atmosphere so that significant occurrences like shootings or acts of terrorism get avoided on the island.

What Is The History Of Arsenal Island?

Arsenal Island had its first military usage in 1816 by building Fort Armstrong, later used in the 1832 Black Hawk War, functioning as the military’s command center. Arsenal Island served as a prison during the Civil War, and in 1880 the island was utilized to produce weaponry for the government.

What Is In The Rock Island Arsenal Museum?

Arsenal Island’s museum is the second oldest Army museum in the US and has allowed the public to visit since 1905. The exhibitions include stories of the people who were part of the development of Arsenal Island, how the weapons got manufactured and has an extensive viewing of historical firearms.

Do People Live On Arsenal Island?

The Rock Island Arsenal is home to 353 people, most of whom have been there for a while. The island is home to retired military staff, current employees, and their families. Those who reside on the island use an issued badge that enables their entry and exit at any time.

What Are The Visiting Hours And Gate Times For Arsenal Island?

The visitor’s center operates all week between 7 am to 3 pm. Moline Gate is open 24 hours. Davenport Gate operates Monday to Friday between 2 pm and 5 pm. Rock Island Gate opens Monday to Friday, 5:30 am to 10:30 pm, and 8 am to 9 pm on weekends.

Are You Allowed To Take Guns To Arsenal Island?

Firearms must be declared to the protection personnel at the gate and provide their weapon registration and personal identification if it is a Registered Rock Island Firearms. If the firearm is unregistered, the person will get directed to the island’s Access Control Point to obtain a 5-day temporary registration.

Are Motorcycles Allowed On Arsenal Island?

Under the Army Safety Program, all entering motorcyclists must present their valid license and wear the proper protective gear needed for motorcycles. The safety gear required to enter includes a helmet with a full face cover, clothing fully covering the ankles, arms, and legs, sturdy footwear, and finger-protecting gloves.

Why Do Civilians Visit Arsenal Island?

Civilians need a reason to visit before they can be permitted to enter. Some might have a passion for US military history and want to visit museums and landmarks. Others could be seeing the residents on Arsenal Island, visiting the cemetery, or are part of the military conducting business.

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Do You Always Have To Fill Out A Form Before Visiting Arsenal Island?

It is possible for visitors, such as those visiting family members or the cemetery, to get an annual Common Access Card if they have passed the criminal check. No forms need to get filled with the possession of a Common Access Card, and it allows the use of any gate.

What Is The Geography Of Arsenal Island?

Arsenal Island is at 41°31′1″N 90°32′31″W and is 946 acres on the Mississippi River. The island is in the middle of Rock Island cities, Illinois, Davenport, and Iowa but falls within the state lines of Illinois, sitting west of Interstate 74 and below a mile from Iowa’s state line.

Can Groups Visit Arsenal Island?

All group visitors must be US citizens and use the Moline gate. Individual members don’t require a visitor’s permit, but they all need a valid form of identification if they are over 18. Groups on buses need to register two weeks before visiting to be admitted as a group.

What Units Are Stationed At Arsenal Island?

The Army Contracting Demand, US Army Sustainment Command, The First US Army, US Army Joint Munitions Command, and The Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center are all tenants that occupy The Rock Island Arsenal. There they carry out duties such as supporting soldiers and weapon manufacturing.

Does Arsenal Island Store Military Weapons?

Arsenal Island used to have storage facilities for military weapons but no longer does, which stopped on 18 March 2000. Military storage started on the island on 12 June 1917. The storage capacity progressed to 1,764,837 square feet and a cubic measurement of 12,250,000 cubic feet, consisting of 73 buildings.

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