Civil Defense is defined as “plans or activities organized by civilians and civilian authorities for the protection of civilian population and property in times of such disasters or emergencies as war or floods.” The United States has had some form of a Civil Defense program since the formation of the Office of Civilian Defense in 1941. Since then, the focus, size, scope, and visibility of the program has ebbed and flowed with the changing geopolitical tides.  Tied to developments in strategic nuclear weapons, missiles, and even spy satellites - it endured name changes to “Civil Preparedness” and later “Emergency Management.” Throughout this time, thousands of men and women (both paid employees and volunteers) at the federal, state, and local government dedicated themselves to the goal of protecting the public against catastrophe.

Today, Civil Defense is often seen in the public eye as a curiosity – and often only in terms of the early Cold War. Too often, the prevailing historical perspective on Civil Defense is less than a superficial footnote. It is the utmost goal of our organization to preserve this history in a way that reflects the dignity and urgency of the program, and the people who created and dedicated their lives to it. The Museum believes that there are many stories remaining to be told.



Dr. Studer is a practicing Emergency Physician and the founder of the NMCD. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 first catalyzed Dr. Studer's interest in the history of our Nation's Civil Defense program, which grew into a desire to share his research with others.


He then volunteered for the Brevard County (FL) Office of Emergency Management during the early 2000s, and later served at the Florida Department of Health - Bureau of Radiation Control's Radiological Instrument Maintenence & Calibration Laboratory prior to attending medical school at the University of South Florida.


His extensive collection of Civil Defense items forms the nucleus of the NMCD's permanent collections.


Where is the museum located?

The National Museum of Civil Defense is headquartered in Schertz, TX just south of Randolph Air Force Base. The NMCD is currently developing a long term plan to obtain a permanent, dedicated building. We presently schedule private tours of the collections by appointment.

What are the museum's hours?

Our hours are flexible at this time - contact us to schedule your tour!

Is photography allowed?

The Museum is happy to accomodate individuals who have an interest in photographing or documenting an item in our collections. The NMCD has a dedicated area set up for photography of its items which visitors are welcome to use.

Does the museum loan items for outside display?

The Museum is interested in collaboration with organizations who share an interest in public education and raising awareness. Feel free to contact the museum director with any ideas or requests! We look forward to working with you!

Is the NMCD an advocacy organization?

The NMCD staff believe in the mission of the historical Civil Defense program and the personnel that executed it - that of protecting the American people from enemy attack or other disaster. However, the NMCD as an entity is non-partisan, non-political, and does not advocate for contemporary policy or program changes.

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Based out of 

Schertz, TX 78154



Contact us directly to arrange a tour appointment.


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