Veterans Museum has a new home in Tipp City

Karen Purke discusses a uniform in the collection at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum with a visitor. Purke is the museum's executive director. CONTRIBUTED

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Karen Purke discusses a uniform in the collection at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum with a visitor. Purke is the museum's executive director. CONTRIBUTED

Fundraising underway for a $1.7 million project.

CONCORD TWP., Miami County — The Miami Valley Veterans Museum is making itself at home in its new home at 2245 S. County Road 25A between Troy and Tipp City.

The nonprofit museum, serving Miami, Darke, Shelby, Champaign, Clark, Greene and Montgomery counties, was founded in 2009 in Troy.

Its first home was in the former Stouder Memorial Hospital building. It then moved to the Masonic Building in downtown Troy in 2010 and last summer moved to the former Erwin car leadership building off County Road 25A.

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Veterans museum supporters are in the midst of fundraising for a $1.7 million project, with work inside the new museum site around 40% complete, said Karen Purke, Miami Valley Veterans Museum executive director.

“We are chipping away at it. To be honest, we are doing what we can as we can,” she said. With the increase in materials costs, the project cost could increase. “We are in the renovation phases now and still have to build a lot of our exhibits. We were able to buy some materials before prices went up, particularly steel, but will need more materials,” Purke said.

A current effort involves trying to identify licensed plumbers to help complete restroom projects.

As with any move, the unpacking of possessions and parts of the museum collection continues as renovations and displays are completed.

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A volunteer works in the gift shop of the new Miami Valley Veterans Museum located off County Road 25A between Troy and Tipp City.

A volunteer works in the gift shop of the new Miami Valley Veterans Museum located off County Road 25A between Troy and Tipp City.

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A volunteer works in the gift shop of the new Miami Valley Veterans Museum located off County Road 25A between Troy and Tipp City.

Renovations were made first to the front area of the building where visitors today are greeted by museum’s History in a Box collection. This display showcases footlockers with uniforms and other items from various wars and eras, many put together by veterans. The boxes are taken to schools and public programs, often by veteran volunteers.

“You always want a grabber when people walk through the door,” Purke said of History in a Box. “People will walk up to them, touch things, which is fine. That is what they were designed for.”

The showroom gallery includes other displays of items donated by veterans from many conflicts along with pieces of the museum collection. There are some uniforms and a display case of a collection of Korean War veteran Fred Shively.

The museum library is filled with books and other materials, including a collection of interviews done with more than 250 veterans. The overall museum collection has in excess of 20,000 pieces and is growing.

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“We are still unpacking boxes, we are still filling cases and we are still under renovation,” Purke said. That work is more visible in the back area of the museum building, where volunteers help organize the collection, including a uniform room and an area where larger exhibits will be built.

A Hall of Heroes is planned along with a joint project with Edison State Community College to raise awareness of women in the military.

There’s also a gathering space where the museum has been holding Saturday afternoon bingo as part of fundraising.

“We have had a lot of great support,” Purke said.

There is a small gift shop and a display of model vehicles and aircraft.

The museum always can use donations and volunteers. Those volunteers do the “overwhelming majority of our work,” Purke said.

HOW TO HELP

Online: For more information on the Miami Valley Veterans Museum and its fundraising efforts, go online to miamivalleyveteransmuseum.com.

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