My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

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My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:19 am

Hey gents....thought I'd share this with you all. It's not tractor or farm related, but Ithink it's something you will all appreciate...especially if any of you are military history buffs like me. Besides WWII military history, I am also a ski history buff. I like old skis, boots, gear, etc, from the 1930's and 40's. In 1999 I produced an hour long documentary about a regionally famous ski trail (The Thunderbolt Ski Run) here in my hometown of Adams, MA. This was my Spring, Summer, Fall 2012 Project.

http://thunderboltskirun.com/documentary.html

During the year I spent making that film I formed many long lasting and deep connections to a dozen WWII 10th Mountain Division veterans and a dozen more veteran skiers from the 30's and 40's. As the years have gone by and as they have all but passed away, I explored the idea of opening a museum to preserve the quickly fading memory of these early skiers in America...most of whom who went on to serve in Italy with the 10th. Last year a local non-profit club I am asscociated with secured funding through a small grant, and we embarked on a mission to open a museum in Adams dedicated to telling the story of this ski trail and the men who raced on it...to keep their legacy alive for others to learn about.

A dozen volunteers and I spent this past spring and summer overhauling a space in a building our Town allowed us to use for the museum. We also scoured New England looking for ski memorabilia and anything related to the 10th Mtn. Div. On October 7th, 2012 we held a ribbon cutting ceremony. Four veteran skiers from the 30's and 40's gave us the honor of performing the ceremony. Two of them are the last 2 living veterans of the 10th Mtn. Div. (out of 22...the highest per capita enlistment rate in the 10th in America during WWII).

It was a great day, and it was an honor to be a part of the process. Plus, I got to combine my two great passions....military history and ski history into one project. Dug a lot of neat things out of the woodwork. None of it belongs to me, but it was neat to find these items nonetheless and put them on display for all to enjoy.

Hope you enjoy.

Here are a few BEFORE PICS. The building had a generic display of local cultural things to do....museums, art, food, music, etc.

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Last edited by Dennis on Tue May 14, 2013 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:21 am

One of my buddies helping with the 10th Mountain winter tent display....and, the building's new exterior graphics package goes up.

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:21 am

Filling the interior with skis, boots, poles, graphics, informational panels, pictures.....

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:26 am

Got to have some mannequins!!!!

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:28 am

The "Climb to Glory" 10th display...and some display case items.

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:29 am

October 7th, 2012....after some speeches our 4 veterans cut the ribbon and we allowed the public in for the first time.

God bless the veterans!

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Tue May 14, 2013 11:34 am

Here I am engrossed in conversation with our 2 vets from the 10th telling a story about taking Riva Ridge.

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And finally...our 2 10th vets having a look around. And then one of them, Art Bourdon (1st Platoon, A Company, 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment) sees himself for the first time as a life size wall mural of a pic taken when he was at Camp Hale in 1943.

Hope you enjoy!

Blair

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Dennis » Tue May 14, 2013 4:31 pm

Fantastic Job Bigschuss! Thank You for sharing this wonderful project with us -- I love it.
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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Barnyard » Tue May 14, 2013 4:54 pm

Thanks Blair, it's a shame so much of this seems to get lost in todays world. It takes folks like you to bring it out for our future to see what went on "back in the day"!

Great job!
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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bob McCarty » Tue May 14, 2013 5:52 pm

Blair, Living in Colorado, I'm real familiar with Camp Hale and the 10th. I'd like to also thank you for preserving that part of history. As I'm sure you know, a lot of those returning vets loved to ski so much that a lot of them became involved with ski areas as Ski Patrol, instructors, etc.

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Joe Malinowski » Tue May 14, 2013 6:57 pm

Very nice Blair, I guess I have a reason for a road trip up your way soon.
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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Rudi » Tue May 14, 2013 8:29 pm

Blair:

Wonderful job and one you should be very proud of. The case work is very nice and appears to be well crafted (as all the things you do) and the museum looks amazing. It is so nice to see folks trying to preserve important parts of history. I even know a little bit about the 10th Mountain .. they served with distinction. It is really good that some of the surviving members were able to participate and view the museum. Bravo Zulu .. very will done :!: :D
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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Bigschuss » Wed May 15, 2013 6:34 pm

Thanks guys. Definitely a labor of love...kind of like restoring old Cubs! :)

The 10th was an amazing unit! Born from America's fascination with skiing in the 30's and 40's and met their baptism of fire in the mountains of Italy...suffered the highest per capita casualty rate of any unit during WWII.

Joe, the next time you are passing through I'd love to show you around...have lunch somewhere in town.

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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Thu May 16, 2013 8:02 pm

Great Job, Blair! Ed
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Re: My 2012 Project - Opening a Museum

Postby Buzzard Wing » Thu May 16, 2013 10:06 pm

Guess I have a great reason to visit the 'willy-wacks' of western Mass. now! Sure is impressive in every way, especially since you got it done when some of the vets of the unit can appreciate your efforts. Surely an elite outfit.

I have been on their highway many times...


CHAPTER 27
H.P. 95 - L.D. 99

Resolve, to Name Route 302 the 10th Mountain Division Highway

Sec. 1. Designate Route 302 the 10th Mountain Division Highway. Resolved: That the Department of Transportation shall designate the part of Route 302 that starts in the City of Portland and continues through the Town of Fryeburg the "10th Mountain Division Highway." This designation may not change or otherwise affect any other names that municipalities may have adopted for this part of Route 302.

Effective September 21, 2001, unless otherwise indicated.
http://www.mainelegislature.org/ros/LOM ... -50-26.htm
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