Charles County trans­fers prop­erty to vet­er­ans mu­seum

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

The Mary­land Vet­er­ans Mu­seum at Pa­triot Park is lo­cated in the old Glasva School build­ing at 11000 Crain High­way in New­burg.

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