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Michigan Military Heritage Museum

by | Nov 28, 2016 | History, Michigan, Travel | 6 comments

The Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Grass Lake, Michigan is telling our veterans’ stories. They’ve got a megaphone and their stories are powerful, so listen up! 

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Grand Opening 

The Michigan Military Heritage Museum celebrated its Grand Opening over Veteran’s Day weekend. The event was billed as a casual affair with a flag raising and ribbon cutting. Plus historians and re-enactors were on-hand to explain the various exhibits. 

Michigan Military Heritage Museum-9

Michigan Military Heritage Museum-8

Michigan Military Heritage Museum 

“The new building will present a face to the museum and is a huge step in the right direction,” said Scott Gerych in a recent Grass Lake Times‘ article. “We will be able to display items that people don’t get to see as often, or at all with the current 120 sq ft of space in The Coe House Museum.”  

We met Scott and Marilyn O’Leary earlier this year when we visited the Coe House Museum. The military exhibit was definitely running out of space in the Coe House. The tiny room in the Coe House with the military artifacts was packed to the ceiling.

Coe House - Grass Lake - 2016-20

(View of exhibit at the Coe House, 120 square feet) 

The museum is now housed in 3,300 square feet of space located at 153 N. Union Street in Grass Lake. You can almost feel the museum take a deep breath and sigh with relief, “We’ve got space!” 

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“The museum is set up as a timeline,” said O’Leary in an MLive article. “Each section of the museum focuses on a specific war and tells the story of actual Michigan soldiers through the items donated by either the veterans themselves or their descendants, with rotating exhibits throughout the year.”

Combat Uniforms on the Western Front

Currently the main gallery has a special, limited-time, rotating exhibit “Combat Uniforms on the Wester Front” which is part of the Michigan’s World War One Centennial. The uniforms and equipment are all original and over 100 years old. They are on loan from a private collection. 

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Michigan Military Heritage Museum-127

Michigan Territory Through 1812

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On loan from the Detroit Historical Society is a 1,200 pound cannon made in the 18th century. It was discovered at the bottom of the Detroit River. 

American Civil War

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Spanish American War

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World War I

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World War II

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Korean War

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The Gulf War

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Donations

“People who have any military items in attics, basements or those dusty forever-stored-away places, should bring them into the museum to be displayed and admired,” O’Leary said. Families can also purchase plaques in the memory of a family member and have it installed on the Military Wall of Honor.  

This got me to thinking about my Aunt Marjorie. 

Col. Marjorie E. Sodt

She entered the Army in 1945 and retired in 1972. She had two assignments to Germany (47-49 and 62-65) and served as chief nurse in Saigon, Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive. While at Walter Reed she provided care to many famous patients, including John Wayne and President Eisenhower. 

gen-beach-and-m-e-sodt-2

(She is pictured above being congratulated by General Beach while in Vietnam in the late 1960’s. He was Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific,)

Over the next few months, I plan to dig through my family’s archives and pester my cousins for details about my aunt. My goal is to write her story and share it with the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. Please do the same thing. Talk with family over holidays about the veterans in your family. I’m sure there are some inspiring stories. 

A donation to the museum is also appreciated and it is tax deductible. 

We have more photos in our gallery. 

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