Museum of Missouri Military History hosts grand opening
JEFFERSON CITY- Members of the Missouri National Guard, veterans, and family and friends celebrated the grand opening of the newly renovated Museum of Missouri Military History Sunday afternoon.
The new museum at the Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City has 6,400 square feet of space and features artifacts from every conflict the Missouri National Guard has served in.
The museum was originally housed in Thomas Hall on the Missouri National Guard site but the collection quickly outgrew the limited available space there.
"This is a project that's been in the works for over seven years," Major General Steve Danner said. "We had to make room for the units that were here, the RTSM facility here, and move it to Fort Leonard wood which took time to build a facility there and then be able to work the financial side of it for the museum here."
Danner said educating the public about the service of the Missouri National Guard is one of the main goals of the museum.
"We hope that it will be a destination location and that when the school kids who normally come to Jefferson City to visit the capitol in the spring, we hope to have them out here so we can show them the history of the Missouri Guard."
Displays include weaponry, uniforms, and even a informational video set up in an army tent.
"We have artifacts from all the conflicts that Missouri Guardsmen were engaged in," Danner said. "Including some of the lesser known ones such as the Philippines, and recent Iraq, Afghanistan...so really from the beginning, our militia as it was known then back in 1820's when Missouri became a state right up to the very present day."
The museum will add interactive displays and an online component in the coming weeks and months.
"We're working very hard to get up to speed," Danner said. "The Missouri National Guard probably has the best cyber team in the country, and so we're very tip of the speer on everything to do with the Internet and electronics. Probably the best thing I've been able to do is hire smart people who are able to do things like have this flat screen monitor to be able to take you through hundreds and thousands of pictures so we hope to as we continue to develop the museum, we'll have an online version so those who can't visit the museum can see all the artifacts."
The museum will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and will have extended hours on the weekends.
In addition to opening the new museum, members of the Missouri National Guard are working to open a new Resiliency Center on site. Information on these developments and a way to donate to the cause can be found on their fund raising website.