Michigan Military Heritage Museum and Sabaton: Band of Brothers

by | Oct 26, 2023 | History, Travel

Discover Sabaton’s Epic The War To End All Wars – The Movie Showcase at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum: A Journey Through History & Music. Starting November 4th at 11:30 a.m., you can see this new film, which tells stories of World War I. The only place to see this new film in Michigan is the Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson.  

Sabaton - The War To End All Wars - The Movie at Michigan Military Heritage Museum

Michigan Military Heritage Museum – Growing Stories Together

What began as a chance meeting with Scott Gerych at the Coe House Museum in 2016 has blossomed into a continued friendship and mutual admiration society. Scott is the chair of the Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson. The museum dedicates itself to sharing the stories of Michigan military service members. Scott’s passion for history and the museum is contagious. Thanks to him and the fabulous team at the museum, we’ve learned and experienced so much.

WWI Centennial-19

The Michigan Military Heritage Museum began humbly in a small room within the Coe House Museum. Scott, Kevin Gerych, Brian Murphy, John Beeler, Dennis Skupinski, Liam Collins, and Don Cartwright began searching for a bigger home. They found one in Grass Lake, which has historic military significance as Camp Waterloo in Grass Lake had once held German POW prisoners during World War II. With 3300 square feet at the Grass Lake facility, the museum had room to grow. We had the honor of being there for the grand opening on Veterans Day (November 11th), 2016.

Coe House - Michigan Military Heritage Museum

Move to Jackson

With the lease running out and an opportunity to buy property in Jackson, Michigan, the Military Heritage Museum made a move. In November of 2021, the museum opened its doors to its new location at 311 N. Wisner St. This location is significant as it was the former site of Camp Blair, a Civil War Army camp. Fun fact: Almost 25 percent of all Michigan soldiers in the Civil War passed through Camp Blair as new recruits or when discharged at the end of the war.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson

The new museum home looks fantastic, thanks to hard work from museum volunteers and grants. A grant of $11,000 from the Home Depot Foundation allowed the museum to remodel the interior. This included new walls for more display configurations, updated restrooms for wheelchair accessibility, and painting the exterior of the building. Another grant of $10,000 from the Alvin L. Glick Foundation provided funds for updating the heating and cooling equipment. This grant also helped to cover the cost of interior painting.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson
Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson

Some of the stories shared at the Grass Lake location remain. However, many more have been added. The additional space at their new location has allowed the museum to become the home of several large artifacts. One of these large pieces is a tank. The tank, a World War II M3 Lee, is nicknamed “Lulubelle” and was donated by Mr. Jim Romans.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson
Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson

Band of Brothers: Sabaton and Michigan Military Heritage Museum

Besides a love of history, I share a love of heavy music with Scott and Kevin Gerych. Back in the day, Scott was a roadie for the legendary Detroit metal band Halloween. He is still great friends with the members of Halloween today. Kevin (Scott’s son) is also a heavy metal fan and shares his love through album and concert reviews. 

Halloween - Don't Metal With Evil

Kevin’s passion for heavy music and history led to a very interesting relationship with the Swedish band Sabaton. Since 1999, Sabaton has been crafting power metal that seeks to share the stories of heroism and tragedy in human conflict. In particular, their last two albums have focused on World War I with The Great War (2019) and The War To End All Wars (2022). Recognizing Sabaton’s commitment to sharing history with their fans, Kevin had the idea. Why not incorporate Sabaton into the efforts of the Michigan World War I Centennial Commission to commemorate the ending of World War I?

Michigan Military Heritage Museum - Honoring Sabaton

World War I Centennial Commission Honors Sabaton

In 2018, the Michigan Military Heritage Museum and the World War I Centennial Commission honored Sabaton during their tour stop in Grand Rapids. Dennis Skupinski, a museum board member, was instrumental in working with the State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create the World War I Centennial Commission. The commission was tasked with developing, executing, and promoting programs that commemorate the centennial of World War I in Michigan. 

In addition to numerous events in Michigan to recognize our state’s service members involved in World War I, they also recognized international figures such as the band Sabaton. The commemoration during their concert in Grand Rapids included giving band members certificates and challenge coins in recognition of the band’s efforts to share the history of World War I through music and promote learning.

The members of Sabaton were both shocked and very appreciative of this recognition. Since then, they’ve stayed in close contact with the Michigan Military Heritage Museum board. In 2022, when Sabaton was on tour in Michigan, they made a point to visit the museum.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum - presentation to Sabaton

History Rocks

In June of 2023, Sabaton announced their new program called “History Rocks.” This charity initiative aims to promote history’s vital role and encourage everyone to visit their local museums. As an incentive for fans, Sabaton is sharing their new animated film, The War To End All Wars – The Movie, with museums worldwide. The film will premiere only at museums. All proceeds from the premiere go directly to the museums showcasing the film. 

Sabaton Manager and bass player Pär Sundström shared the following in a press release regarding the importance of museums and why Sabaton is promoting them:

“We are excited to launch this project! We believe that by screening ‘The War To End All Wars – The Movie’ in museums worldwide, we can inspire people to appreciate the importance of preserving and learning about our history. And what better way is there to do this than by infusing history education with an entertaining, adrenaline-fuelled animated movie?”

Sundström continues, “It’s also a fantastic way to persuade a brand new audience to visit their local museums. Museums are really important to us as a band, especially military and history-focused museums – we have learned so much from them. We want the world to be curious and would love for people to genuinely want to learn about the past. The only way we grow as human beings is by learning about days gone by and appreciating the sacrifices that have been made for us to live the way we do.”

Michigan Military Heritage Museum was one of the first five museums in the world to sign on for the program, even before it was broadly announced. Currently, over 100 museums are showing the film. However, the Michigan Military Heritage Museum remains the only venue in Michigan that is showing this film.

The War To End All Wars movie

Created by Yarnhub Animation Studios in partnership with Sabaton, The War To End All Wars – The Movie is a 67-minute film featuring songs from Sabaton’s The War To End All Wars. This is the band’s tenth studio album, released on March 4, 2022. The film provides a visual telling of the stories of World War I. The idea is to give fans an immersive experience. Through film and sound, they want to illuminate the history of World War I. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage fans to learn more about those who served during this war. Ideally, fans come away with an understanding that collectively helps us work to avoid such events in the future.

The film will be shown at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum starting November 4th. There are showings at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The War To End All Wars – The Movie will play through November 19th of 2023. 

A special showing of the film will occur at the historic Michigan Theatre in Jackson on November 10 at 7 p.m. Proceeds from your ticket benefit both the Michigan Military Heritage Museum and Michigan Theatre. This is a great opportunity to celebrate Veteran’s Day and support these two fine institutions in Jackson.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson

More Stories To Tell

We encourage you to spend the day at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. They have so many stories to share with you. With constantly evolving displays, each visit to this museum is a new opportunity to experience new stories and make fresh observations.

The Michigan Military Heritage Museum is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sundays, they are open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. You can follow them on social media or watch their website for special events.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson


Be sure to hit the links in our story for photos from our past visits to the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. For a current look at their space in Jackson, check out our gallery.

Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson

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