KALIDA — Military uniforms from World War I and II, military hats, mess kits, canteens and Purple Hearts among other awards are on display at Putnam County Historical Society and Museum. A growing collection of these historical artifacts has prompted the museum to move the items to a larger room and create a new display at the museum.
Carol Wise, museum curator marking her 30th year in August, said the museum board decided there was a need to create a new military display. Plans are to have the display completed next November once funds are raised for the project.
“Our current room where we display military items is very small and we have a lot of military things that we will put in a larger room,” Wise said.
Currently the items are in smaller separate rooms of the museum in glass cases and military uniforms hang on the walls or are on clothing racks. Museum officials will prepare one centralized room where the military items will be displayed. It will need to have heat and air and there will be more glass display cases and shelving built. The room will be handicapped accessible and have shaded windows.
Letters have been mailed to Putnam County veterans and American Legions seeking funding to assist with the project.
”Last year we celebrated the Centennial of World War I and the Armistice and we had a program with local veterans and displayed all of the military uniforms,” Wise said. She said the sacrifices members of the military have made needs to be respected. Her father was killed in Normandy the day after D-Day and he was serving as a first lieutenant in the Army. She was 6 weeks old and never got to meet her father.
She said the historical society’s mission is to educate the next generation so they will be interested in the county’s history through its exhibits.
Kalida was the the first county seat in Putnam County where the museum is located and opened in 1972, Wise said.
Karla Altenburger, historical society board member, said there are a lot of artifacts where there has not been room to display. Her son from Cloverdale currently serves in the Air Force as a combat systems officer and she knows the importance of recognizing the military.
“We have military uniforms from the Civil War era, World War I and II and Vietnam that we would like to show and we have all of the branches of the military represented except the Coast Guard,” Altenburger said.
Janis Lentz, board member, said it will be a process to complete the work that is the board’s project for 2019.
“We will need to take items out of the room that are there, paint the room and put black out blinds for the windows and put new lighting in and make sure there is heat,” Lentz said. She said it will help to have the display in an accessible room because a lot of people who come to see the display use wheelchairs.
“The military is an important part of our history and what they have done for our country. Without the military we would not have our country as it is today so we can continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Lentz said.
The museum is at 201 E. Main St. and hours are Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and memberships can be purchased for $15 a year.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.