Veterans museum could be homeless, again

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 8:20 PM

Tucked in a back room at VFW Post 2100 sits the Seattle Veterans Heritage Museum. The fact that it's in Everett says it all.

"This might be its last hurrah," said museum volunteer John Chapman.

Financial issues forced the 11-year-old museum out of its Seattle home last year. Now, the VFW post that took the museum in is having financial problems of its own. A "for sale" sign is posted on the property, a move that will put the museum out on the street again.

It's a travesty to Chapman, a Vietnam veteran. He spent his Veterans Day at the museum teaching a steady trickle of visitors about our nation's wars, but the benefit's aren't just educational.

"For some of the vets, it's theraputic," Chapman said. "They'll come in and take a look and start talking to me. I've been able to talk several of them into going down to the VA and seeking help."

The museum has a travelling component, as well. Artifacts were on display Monday for a special Veterans Day hockey game at Comcast Arena. 

"It's tough," said museum president Todd Crooks. "It's like, here we go all over again."

Crooks is a Navy vet who has dedicated the last decade of his life to the museum. He desperately wants to see it continue, but without a permanent home, he fears all the history he has collected over the years could be left to gather dust on a shelf.

Crooks would like a local city or county to take over the museum, but so far, no one is willing. To him it's a simple matter of priorities.

"We're not asking for a $400 million sports stadium," he said. "We just want a little place to honor the people who gave their lives for this country."  

If no agency steps forward, Crooks is looking for 1,000 square feet of rent free space and about $125,000 a year for four years to allow the museum to get on its feet.

"This is important," he said. "We're talking about people who sacrificed their lives for this country. We at least owe them something as meaningful as a museum." 

More information

Seattle Veterans Heritage Museum website

Contact museum president Todd Crooks at info@seattleveteransmuseum.org.

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