The Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration will be the recipient of tanks, armor vehicles, photos, uniforms, military equipment, and various exhibits totaling over 10,000 artifacts donated by the U.S. Military Museum in Danbury, Connecticut, which is closing its doors after 22 years of operation.
The decision to close was made by the Connecticut based board earlier this month.
“The strength of our exhibits and the underlying mission have never wavered,” stated Al Barto, U.S. Military Museum Secretary. “From its first day to its last, this museum has been about paying tribute to the American G.I., and our defense of freedom. This is a difficult decision for us but it was made with considerable care to ensure that the legacy of the U.S. Military Museum lives on by gifting our assets to the Museum of American Armor on Long Island.”
Lawrence Kadish, Founder and President of the Museum of American Armor, stated, “Anyone who opens their museum doors to the public recognizes we are custodians of our nation’s military heritage. Our Danbury colleagues created a powerful destination over the years that reminded visitors of our collective debt to those who have worn the uniform of America’s military. With their donation of armor and exhibits we have expanded our responsibility to continue honoring that legacy of courage and valor.”
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who quickly approved plans for private dollars to build the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, stated, “This decision underscores the importance of this museum in a very short period of time. Other institutions in other states now recognize its leadership role and its ability to serve as a guardian of our nation’s military history.”
A commitment to a common mission “There is enormous talent among our two institutions and a tremendous amount of respect for each other and for our respective accomplishments,” offered Mark Renton, director of the Museum of American Armor. “We look forward to working with volunteers from the U.S. Military Museum as we accept their donation which reflects their hard work and incredible dedication to a common mission.”
The Long Island based museum will be receiving a number of unusual armor assets and displays that include a Locust tank, one of the very few fighting vehicles of World War II designed to fit inside a glider, a German Kettenkrad, whose design suggests a motorcycle with tank tracks, an Italian designed German staff car, an M36 Jackson tank destroyer, and displays that focus on America’s War on Terror.
Previously named the Military Museum of Southern Connecticut, at the heart of its collection was a massive M18 Hellcat tank destroyer. It was placed on loan at the Museum of American Armor two years ago and brought back to operational life by the museum’s volunteer staff.
“Their commitment to mechanical excellence, operational safety, and an appreciation of what this vehicle represents convinced us that our museum’s legacy would be in good hands,” concluded Barto. “We know that our various artifacts will now be housed in an environment where visitors will continue to learn of the valor and courage of those who have defended, and continue to defend, our freedoms.”
Fred Daum, Museum of American Armor board member and Director of Customer Contact at PSEG Long Island stated, “We are proud and honored to assume responsibility for these donated military artifacts. They not only help tell our nation’s story but those individuals who are quite often members of our own family. It is our mission to ensure that heritage is never allowed to be forgotten.”
The Museum of American Armor will begin displaying selected artifacts donated to them over the next several months as armor, uniforms and other displays are relocated from Danbury. The museum is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road inside Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Old Bethpage. It is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission donation requested is $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, veterans and children. Its web site is www.museumofamericanarmor.org and also on Facebook.