The new location for the Perry County military museum, on the second floor of the Perryville Higher Education Center, is no longer barren. Instead, countless area military artifacts line the walls in lit-up glass cases, each designated for a different conflict where our veterans have fought.
Members of the Perry County Military Museum Committee (PCMMC) have been working diligently over the last few months, sifting through thousands of artifacts that stem from either the Perry County History Museum, the nooks and crannies of Nancy Moore’s home (a Perry County Historical Society member) or from residents who have donated military items handed down through loved ones.
Members Mike Lundy, his wife Vicki, John Rauh and his wife Carlene, have worked countless hours inside the museum, picking and choosing through the massive collection of items, trying to discern which belong where, and which are more relevant to Perry County than others.
“We practically live here,” Vicki said, pointing to a pair of house slippers in the corner of the room. “See?”
Starting on the left wall as one enters the room, the first glass case holds artifacts pertaining to the American Revolution, and each glass case after that goes in chronological order from conflict to conflict — the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam and the Middle Eastern conflicts.
“There seems to be a story behind most of what we’ve got here,” said John Rauh.
“It’s been so neat discovering the Perry County history here,” Mike Lundy said.
Artifacts include old military uniforms, love letters, photographs, helmets, medals, flags and artillery, to name a few. One artifact in particular, located in the American Civil War display case, is an old shotgun used by the first mayor of Perryville.
“[The first mayor], Charles Weber, used this to defend our community in the war. Could you imagine?” Lundy said, pointing to the weapon, gleaming in the glass case.
Eventually, in the far wall of the museum, the committee would like to set up a “wall” of old photos — nearly 700 hundred of them — that depict Perry County soldiers from all time periods and wars. In this area as well, every six months or so, the committee would like to spotlight a particular Perry County soldier.
Because of the abundance of artifacts, much of what’s left over will be stored in the basement of the Higher Ed center, but the committee has plans to rotate the exhibits every so often to keep the museum updated with fresh material.
An open house is tentatively scheduled for Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, to welcome the community and tourists to visit the museum, of which the committee is quite proud of.
“We’re just so happy to have this place,” Lundy said.