DANVILLE — The Vermilion County War Museum will soon be getting some technical and display upgrades thanks to the Vermilion County Commission and its ARPA (American Rescue Program Act) funding from the federal government.
District 7 board member Jerry Hawker said, “I want to help put some of these funds to work for organizations and groups in my district who are working hard to serve their communities but have limited budgets. So I spoke with Rhea and Larry Weatherford and got to Knowing that the Vermillion County War Museum needed some help. The museum is the closest neighbor to the administrative building in the county and I know how hard they go to honor our veterans. I didn’t tell them why I thought we wanted to donate, but asked for a donation Provide a list of programs and areas where we can help museums.”
Hawke said his interest in the museum was piqued about four years ago when he and his granddaughter Suzanne attended an open house there.
“Suzanne was really drawn to the people behind the stories and artifacts when Larry showed us around. That’s when I knew how important this museum is to the community,” Hawke said.
Hawke and County Commission Chairman Larry Bowen toured the museum and spoke with the Weatherfords who took them on the tour, noting what they think can be done to help the museum move forward.
The pair also spoke with museum board chairman James Kuzmanoff, treasurer Coletta Johnson, other board members and volunteers.
Hawke and Bowen were impressed with the first item on Weatherford’s wish list. This is a computer system that contains a database of Vermillion County Veterans, listing everyone in the area who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, dating back to Revolutionary War veterans who moved to Vermillion County in the late 1700s and early 1800s soldier. The list will continue to serve today’s staff. In addition to the names that will crawl across the huge LED screen on the wall, there is access to “scanned” pictures, stories and original documents.
“We plan to digitize many of the collections we own or have access to for personal service personnel and regiments. For example, we will scan hundreds of pages of documents, pictures, speeches and stories about John Charles and William Blake, all of whom have Medal of Honor for civil war service,” Larry Weatherford said.
While the museum houses tens of thousands of artifacts dating back to the 1700s, Weatherford said, “The vestibule on the southwest side of the building will be our technical room, complete with computer workstations, large screens and a touchscreen video kiosk for visitors. .”
Weatherford already has expansion plans for the system.
“I would love to see us make videos in a small studio in the same room. These will focus on different eras of American history and certain topics, such as Medal of Honor recipients in the region,” he said.
Board member Tara Auter added: “We also plan to record videos of our veterans and their descendants to bring their stories to life for generations to come. Some of our volunteers and board members have experience in broadcasting, video production and public speaking. experience, can help make that happen.”
Eventually, Weatherford envisions adding more video booths and a mini-theater to other parts of the building.
Baughn said, “The museum and all the many volunteers are working hard to keep up with all the history of the county. I’m glad we can help future generations learn more about the impact of their ancestors on our local history. The War Museum tells us today of young people tell such an important story, and we must ensure that the sacrifices made by our local servicemen stay here forever for future generations to learn from.”
“We see the video system as the first step in helping the war museum,” Hawke said. “There are other places that have pointed out to us that I think the county can help make the museum more of a place to honor our veterans.”
Weatherford agreed, “The county is deeply grateful for the interest in helping the museum, which will allow us to make great strides in technology and aesthetics. It’s hard to express how grateful we are for this kind of help and support.”
Alan Woodrum, Broadcast and Electronics Engineer at IAC Communications, is designing, building and installing a video system for the War Museum.