At Memorial Post 91, An American Legion at Burlington, a room is loaded with a variety of framed artifacts and boxes stacked with memorabilia, all ready for the new museum, a veterans’ organization, which is scheduled to open in mid-February. Cmdr. Bryan Mellor of American Legion, is heading forwards, to see a part of United States’ history of armed forces, with an effort to provide the residents a place with artifacts, more than a 1000, dating back to the Civil War till the present. Mellor said that he made it a priority to build and run a museum since they had many artifacts lying around. This museum, he wishes, to be a way for the communities to become more educated on organization’s missions and involving more with American Legion. And regarding the same, Mellor sent an invitation to the residents to take part in work parties, to prepare for museum’s opening, on January 28th, Saturday and February 14th, Tuesday. The donations for the artifacts have been done mostly by Skagit County residents, providing viewers a national as well as a local history lesson. To discuss the backgrounds and significance of artifacts, volunteer curators have been included by the Museum.
A hand-drawn huge portrait of Andersonville, Georgia, which was the Confederacy’s prison camp at the time of Civil War, is Mellor’s favorite, among the artifacts. The drawing, by an Andersonville prisoner Thomas O’Dea, is being pursued by Washington D.C’s Smithsonian Museum, said Mellor. Another artifact will be Marine Corps Uniform of Mellor, during his serve from 2005-09. Collection of more items, by the organization, continues from the WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War, said Post 91 historian, Jordan Ray. He also said that the artifacts remind them of the veterans, who live no more, what they have gone through and visioning how far this country has come along. An Army Reserve, Ray, who used to serve from 2004-09 in U.S Navy, hopes that people will understand better about the military life. Having support base towards veterans, is one of the important aspects of American Legion, said Mellor and that he would also like to be involved to work on affordable housing for veterans as many veterans face problems like homelessness and suicide.
One of the biggest part of this Museum is the emerging number of old artifacts, buried in the attics of people, coming to light again which is really exciting and it gives an ability to gain a bit more knowledge on history about people of their community.