Lest We Forget: What if Victoria had a military museum?
By Dr. Peter B. Riesz
A military museum here in Victoria could have several functions, the greatest of which would be the displaying and teaching of our military history. The military significance of Victoria is little recognized. At one time our town was considered to be the military capital of Texas. This fact could form the central theme of the museum on which other displays could be developed. Interest in this process would be expected to attract many visitors and tourists to our town to view and learn about our military involvement from that time.
Another important function would be the involvement of the Victoria County Veterans Council with the museum. The member organizations and their respective auxiliary would be a source of many volunteers in the museum to handle many activities, such as docent tours and other volunteer functions, to assist students and visitors in enjoying and learning from the museum.
There is a constant problem of where each of the 10 member organizations of the VCVC will hold their regular meetings. The museum grounds may have buildings which would be of appropriate size that each organization, if desired, could meet on the grounds of the museum. Each meeting would be scheduled and the meeting area set up by museum staff to accommodate each organization. The same area could also be a place for social functions and a possible place to hold fund raising activities to support each organization and the museum. Such a place would be cost effective in that each organization would not have to pay individual utilities and the costs of maintaining a separate building and those expenses could be shared by all on one building. The staff could also be responsible for announcing meeting and function dates and times in local news media.
Space could be set aside for storage and display of the banners of each veteran organization. It could be an ideal place for the storage and organization of the archives of each organization. Currently, the archives are often stored at the home of the secretary of each group. Much of the important information is often lost when records are stored at homes and then, when a new secretary is appointed, the old records are not passed on and are lost forever. One function of the executive director of the museum could be in cataloging these archives both past and future and preserving them for future reference.
The grounds of the museum might be an ideal place for each VCVC organization to construct a suitable memorial stone unique for each member group. This might be constructed around the same central theme much as Victoria County has constructed the Veterans Plaza at the courthouse to display the plaques from each war. The plaques display the names of veterans who died while on active duty. The museum site might have the U.S. flag and member organization banners displayed on poles, thoughtfully lighted and displayed, and might serve as a central place to have memorial and other official celebrations throughout the year.
More on other museum functions next time.
This column is a research project of Dr. Peter B. Riesz. Contact Riesz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 361-575-4600.