Texas Military Forces
In addition to our day to day functions and general support for the Museum, the Foundation is currently raising funds for a number of high-value projects to enhance the Museum. These projects include a renovation of the 36th Infantry Division in the World Wars Exhibit, electronic and digital presentation of Texans that have earned the Medal of Honor, vehicle and equipment maintenance, building construction or renovation, and technology upgrades that will allow us to engage visitors in interactive displays.
36th INFANTRY DIVISION IN THE WORLD WARS EXHIBIT
Renovation of the 36th Infantry Division in the World Wars exhibit provides the opportunity to upgrade the gallery to better tell the story of the soldiers as well as bring the exhibit up to ADA (Americans with Disability Act) standards. The renovation will allow for expansion of the gallery making room for more exhibits, artifacts, and providing a more modern interactive and immersive experience for visitors.
Our WWI exhibit will be one of only two immersive WWI exhibits in the state of Texas. Visitors will be able to experience the troop hold of a transport ship, travel through a trench exhibit, and look through periscopes into “no man’s land.” They will learn more about the weapons of the war, including a machine gun emplacement and the 36th ID Choctaw Code talker bunker will be more realistic and life-like.
The WWII exhibit will expand the current storyline to complete the story from our entry into the war through our troops heading home. The design incorporates environmental elements giving the visitor a sense of the ruins and devastation the war brought to cities across Europe. The renovation will allow for more exhibit cases for artifacts and improve the visitor experience with improved way signs and information.
The 142nd Infantry Silver Set Needs a New Display
In late April 1945, a platoon from the 142nd Infantry, 36th Division overran a platoon of German soldiers with a horse drawn supply wagon. In the wagon was a large footlocker full of over 200 pounds of looted silver including flatware, silver ingots, religious objects and melted pieces of silver. During the summer of 1945 while the 142nd was on occupation duty south of Stuttgart, Germany, the Regimental Commander, Major George Lynch, was given permission by the War Department to have the silver melted down. A local silversmith in Schwebsisk-Gmund, Germany cast the melted silver into a punch bowl, 150 miniature cups, 2 ladles and a plaque engraved with the 142nd Infantry Distinctive Unit Insignia.
The silver set came home with the 142nd Infantry in December 1945 and remained with members of this unit until it was donated to the museum in 1998.
As part of the renovation of the 36th Infantry Division in the Great Wars, we are building a new display for the set. The display case has to not only protect the silver, but also remain accessible for use by members of the division during annual events.
Help us keep the silver safe and on display for the men who brought it home.
DIGITAL AND INTERACTIVE MEDAL OF HONOR EXHIBIT
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Fourteen soldiers from the 36th Infantry Division have earned The Medal of Honor.
The first Texan to earn the Medal was Milton M. Holland, who received the honor during the Civil War. Holland who was born near Austin, was the also the first African-American recipient from Texas.
Our Medal of Honor recipients were just a few of the heroes who wore the T-Patch of the 36th ID during WWII – this campaign will allow us to better tell the stories behind the close to 10,000 medals earned by members of the 36th ID, Texas National Guard and Texas Air Guard.
The campaign will allow us to purchase the technology needed to complete digitization of the military records and information for all 36th ID soldiers in WWII, and create the exhibit and electronic interface needed to engage visitors. This interactive exhibit will allow visitors to access the information, stories and photos, to help bring these stories to life and see the faces of the soldiers. All of the information will be searchable by name, unit, state, and other vital information. In addition, the exhibit and technology will include the capacity for visitors to send information from the database to their home email address. Eventually we expect to create the ability for people to upload letters home, military records, and other important information to complete the stories of the men and women serving our country. The information will also be available electronically through the Museum website.
Second Lieutenant, Stephen R. Gregg received his Medal of Honor on March 14, 1945, from Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch III for his actions in near Montelimar, France, on Aug. 27, 1944.