WASHINGTON – The site for the National Museum of the United States Army was approved by the secretary of the Army in June 2011, but raising the estimated $200 million it will cost to build it has been a battle.
Beth Shultz, director of grassroots development for the Campaign for the National Museum of United States Army and the Army Historical Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of the project, says she still hopes for a 2014 groundbreaking at the Fort Belvoir site, but she says, “That’s all pending on fundraising.”
To date, Schultz says, they’ve raised $68 million, but to open the doors to the first three phases of the museum, they will need about $135 million dollars.
She says they hope to open the museum, on 41- acres provided by the Army at Fort Belvoir, by 2017. Shultz says the museum will also include a parade field, amphitheater and memorial gardens that will surround the museum grounds.
To help with funding, Schulz says the museum has started a brick program which allow patrons to purchase a commemorative brick in honor or in memory of someone. The bricks come in two sizes and will line the museum’s “Path of Remembrance.”
She says one of the centerpieces of the museum will be the “Registry of the American Soldier.” It’s for anyone who has served in the Army over the past 238 years. The Army will celebrate its birthday on June 14.
The soldier registry is free. Any solider can have his or her name and service history documented and preserved and on permanent display at the museum though the registry. More than 30 million men and women have proudly worn the Army uniform since 1775.