Charles County transfers property to veterans museum
Former Glasva school now officially belongs to nonprofit that renovated it
The Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park is now in control of its own destiny fol- lowing the official transfer of the property from Charles County government to the museum nonprofit.
“It was a huge milestone for us to have reached this point,” said Larry Abell, president of the museum, during a ceremony Saturday celebrating the transfer of the property.
The idea for a museum began in 2002 when a group of veterans led by the late Col. Donald Wade, a Vietnam War veteran, came together to create a museum to honor Charles County veterans.
“He [Wade] told me it was on the battlefields of Vietnam that he first thought about it,” Abell said. “In Charles County there was nothing, there was no tribute to veterans, there was no tribute to anybody. So he planted the seed here in 2002, and you can see how the museum has evolved.”
A home was found for the museum in the old Glasva School building in Newburg, and a portion of the museum is dedicated to the history of the school building.
The museum opened in 2013 and quickly amassed loaned and donated artifacts from the U.S. Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Viet- nam and the Middle East conflicts. In addition, a new room has recently opened showcasing the American Revolutionary War. The official opening celebration for the Revolution room is scheduled for March 26.
The museum also holds displays on the roles of African-Americans, Japanese Americans and women in U.S. wars.
“We want everybody to feel like it’s their museum, and I think they do,” Abell said.
Since its founding, the county has continued to own the property. The museum has paid $1 a year to the county as part of a long-term lease, but owning its own building will help the museum in applying for grants, Abell said.
“The big difference is that now we can use the value of the building to apply for grants that require matching funds,” Abell said.
When the museum first acquired the building, Abell said it was “in ruins” and no value. Veterans volunteered to renovate the building, which was recently appraised at $1.98 million.
“The county commissioners have supported us from the very beginning, but they realized we were limited in what we could do,” Abell said.
On Jan. 31, the Board of Charles County Commissioners unanimously approved transferring the property to the nonprofit museum.
Charles County Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) commended the museum’s board for all of the hard work they have put into making the museum a reality.
“There is no better demonstration of commitment to a vision then what has been demonstrated here,” Murphy said.
Maryland Veterans Museum President Larry Abell, left, and Board of Charles County Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy sign documents officially transferring the property to the nonprofit museum during a ceremony Saturday.
The Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park is located in the old Glasva School building at 11000 Crain Highway in Newburg.