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Military museums are nothing new for California – there are in fact over a dozen of them.  But it would be new for the Santa Clarita Valley.  It was in the course of planning for the upcoming Santa Clarita War Memorial the local SCV veteran and bronze star recipient Bill Reynolds has also found there is much backing in the area for a good local museum that would teach about the lives of soldiers and military veterans.  Having served this past year as Director of Veterans Affairs with The Signal Newspaper and interviewing local Veterans and writing their stories for The Signal's weekly Friday Veterans Page, I've learned that a great many Veterans have priceless memorabilia that could be donated to such a facility. Here are Bill’s ideas on this museum:

Bill. generally, what do you expect a war veteran’s museum would do for the Santa Clarita Valley? 

It would enable SCV citizens to display their priceless memorabilia rather than leave it stacked away in closets and attics and possibly get thrown out by heirs.  A War Museum would be a valuable history learning source, especially for our youngsters. 
 
Inevitably a local military museum would be compared to other California military museums, including the General George Patton Museum in Camp Young and Fort Tejon and March Air Field where massive exhibits such as military planes and tanks and barracks use ample space provided by existing or prior military bases.  What would be the space requirements for a projected local military museum?

The size and location would have to be sorted out by our City leaders; preferably it would be as near to our Veterans Historical Plaza as possible and hopefully with an interior as large as 2,500 sq. I don't think we need a facility for military vehicles unless they're small enough to display inside.  
 
What would be the basic difference between the military veteran’s museum you are proposing and just a military museum? 

It would simply be a place for Veterans and citizens to display military memorabilia. 
 
How would such a museum be funded, and what do you see as the cost of building and then annually maintaining the museum? 

The cost remains to be seen depending upon which plan would be developed.  Our SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc. could launch a community funding drive much like we did for our Fallen Warriors Monument to be installed at our Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall. 
 
Who do you expect to partner with to create such a museum? 

It would be community funded with assistance from City Hall/County leaders. 
 
Do you see that you are building momentum and support for such a project through your work on a Santa Clarita war memorial?

I do.  I have learned through that process that this city and surrounding areas embraces our Veteran/Military community. 
 
What is your time table for formally proposing a veterans museum? 

Possibly later this year following our Fallen Warriors Monument completion.  By the way, this idea has surfaced from various SCV sources; it's not my original idea. 
 
How would a local military museum work with local schools?

Our educators would be informed and field trips would be encouraged. 

Do you see a local military museum being multi-media as are larger museums, such as in providing a theater for live and video presentations for museum-goers? 

Multimedia would be outstanding, but it would hinge on funding availability.  Possibly, citizens in the business would contribute their services. 
 
What would be your idea of some worthy exhibits for a local veteran’s museum? 

Original newspaper headlines and articles, photos, uniforms, captured Nazi & Japanese flags, military paraphernalia such as pilot headgear, bomber jackets, ammo belts, canteens, etc.  Most any items representing all wars.  WWII Savings Bond Posters. You name it. 

Chris Sharp- Community Interview

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . Sharp's latest book is an Amazon Kindle collection of his published short stories, Every Kind of Angel . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.