Ground Breaking for the Minnesota Military & Veterans Museum


September 18th 2023

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the dedication ceremony program.

This weekend I had the rare and unique opportunity to attend the groundbreaking of the soon-to-be-new Minnesota Military & Veterans Museum located in Central Minnesota near Camp Ripley. It was a lovely, sunny with a chance of a floating cloud covering the sun in the blue blue sky kind of day. The temperature was a nice 65 degrees. There currently is a Minnesota Military & Veterans Museum, but it is housed inside of Camp Ripley, not overly easy to access, and busting at the seams with things to share and stories to tell.

I got to learn more about it working with Charles on the painting. It is something he is passionate about and has lent time and energy towards supporting and promoting.

In that moment standing on the ground of what will be a really beautiful museum a thought passed through my mind and landed for a while. “My dad would have loved this. If this had been here when I was growing up, he would have had us stop every time we passed it. Maybe it would have helped him to talk more about his experiences and feel less alone.” My dad was a history buff and we passed by the old tank on the corner on our way to Bird Island, MN to see his mom and his childhood town often.  We didn’t stop each time, but we stopped many times. He would have liked this and so would my brothers.

It was a nice thought and a lovely reminder of the travels in the car as a family.

In general, I am not a museum person. I’ll be honest, they can be a little boring to me and a bit overwhelming. But, in that moment, seeing all the people who are working hard to preserve the stories of the Veterans from our state I could see it differently and with more insight and perspective. I took time to talk to a couple of the people there about why they had come. They had stories of family members who had fought in past wars and they were still passing down the uniforms from the civil war to the next generation. They were proud of a family member they had never met and were still honoring his service to our country. That’s pretty incredible to me. It got me thinking about my own grandfather’s time in World War II when his plane was shot down in enemy territory and the things he did to survive, make his way to safety, and then be housed in a safe country until he was exchanged to come home to my Grandma. He spoke almost never of that story because they wouldn’t allow him to for years and when he finally received a letter that said he could share, he told his wife and mother and then never really talked about it again. He shared the story with me on his deathbed and I didn’t know everyone else didn’t know it. He mattered, he served, he sacrificed, he lost friends, and he lived on. Maybe if a place like this had existed before he passed he would have shared his story where it could have been accurately kept and shared. How helpful that might have been for his PTSD?

My painting continues to be shared at the current museum location. I am hoping that in a couple of years when the building is done, that I can loan them the painting during their grand opening. I believe there is broad value in sharing not only my father’s story, but also my grandfather’s story.

Since I was pondering my love and fear of museums, I asked the AI Bard to tell me why museums are important and this is what it said.

Museums are important for a variety of reasons. They:

  • Preserve and protect cultural heritage. Museums collect, care for, and study artifacts and specimens from the past and present. This helps to ensure that these important pieces of history and culture are not lost or forgotten.
  • Provide education and learning opportunities. Museums offer a variety of educational programs and exhibits that can help people of all ages learn about different cultures, time periods, and scientific concepts. Museums can also be a great place for students to do research and complete projects.
  • Promote creativity and inspiration. Museums can be a source of inspiration and creativity for people of all ages. Seeing works of art, historical artifacts, and scientific specimens can spark new ideas and help people to think about the world in new ways.
  • Build community and promote social cohesion. Museums can be a place for people from different backgrounds to come together and learn about each other’s cultures. They can also be a place for people to gather and socialize.
  • Support the local economy. Museums can attract tourists and visitors, which can help to support the local economy. They can also create jobs and provide educational opportunities for local residents.

In addition to these general benefits, museums can also play a specific role in addressing important social issues. For example, museums can help to promote understanding and tolerance between different cultures. They can also help to educate people about important topics and issues.

Overall, museums are important because they play a vital role in preserving our cultural heritage, educating the public, and promoting creativity and social cohesion.