The first is a $20,000 grant to upgrade the audio/visual equipment at the Center. The Center was built 15 years ago and at the time, installed state of the art video kiosks and a movie theater. “With the changes in technology in the last 15 years, we need to make an upgrade.” said Hayes Scriven, Executive Director for the Center. He continues, “We are using the same equipment that we were using when we opened and a lot of it is past its useful life. It is costing us too much in maintenance to continue using them.” To complete the project the Center is going to use a cash match that was obtained at its annual fundraising auction in November. Those funds will be used to contract with local videographers to update the current videos and create new ones. “The new videos will better tell veterans stories and give people a more immersive experience when they visit us.” said Scriven.
The second grant, which was awarded by multiple funds from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation for $10,000, will expand the Center’s youth programs. This grant will create multiple new “traveling trunks” that can be utilized by area schools and create a “Jr. Curator Program.” John Gidley, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator stated, “The new trunks will be an extension of our field trip program here at the Center. We will create new trunks on a wide variety of subjects that classes can utilize in their classroom to tell veterans stories.” With this grant, the Center will also be creating a Jr. Curator program. This program will engage 20 students that are entering 8th grade. The students will work in pairs at the Center for a week at a time. During the week, students will learn how a museum operates by working with primary resources and researching in a library. The main project will be to conduct an oral history with a veteran and create a display that will be up for the summer in the museum gallery. Scriven said, “This is a very similar program that I had at my previous job. It really engaged the students and got them excited about history. I am excited about developing the program here and connecting students with area veterans in helping document our community history.” Currently the Center is targeting to partner with the Superior School District, but if all goes well, the program will expand in to the Duluth School District.
About the Center
The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.