Reopening of the Ft. Drum Museum
10th Mountain Division
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Bannister, commander of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and Fort Drum, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Lewis, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum command sergeant major, help reopen the 10th Mountain Division Museum at Fort Drum April 23, 2015. Virginia "Ginger" Shaw, chief of Field Museums at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, and Jim Corriveau, Fort Drum's director of the Directorate of Public Works were on hand to help Bannister and Lewis during the official ribbon cutting ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kap Kim, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs/Released)
April 23, 2015, CMH
From a train station, to a larger World War II building to the Heritage Center, the Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division Museum has seen continuous improvement. The 2015 redesign and opening is a milestone in the effort to document and preserve the storied history of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum.
In 1982, then Public Affairs Officer Major McDowell reopened Fort Drum's former train station, Building T-2339 on Nash Boulevard and began filling it with relics from the post's past. Bart Eames, a Watertown civilian, was hired soon after as the first curator. This first museum was only open from May to September, due to the lack of heat and insulation. MAJ McDowell continued to advocate the goal of upgrading the facility to professional standards of presentation and storage with a full time staff. In 1986 Lawrence Moon was hired, bringing with him a strong museum background. Steps were being made toward MAJ McDowell's dream.
On September 11, 1998, the new Historical Collection opened in Building T-503 on Nash Blvd. Mr. Orlando DeMarrco, having replaced Mr. Moon had taken over the collection in the old train station and was responsible for the move and the new displays. Mr. DeMarrco helped bring the displays to a new standard. When James D. Neville was hired in late 1998 as the next curator he began to collect artifacts in earnest collecting from soldiers as they served in the Division's many deployments during the 1990s.
10th Mountain Division Museum Reopening
Mr. Neville's retirement from service to the federal government in June, 2006 temporarily forced the doors to the collection to be closed until the next curator was hired. In December, 2006 Kent A. Bolke was hired. Mr. Bolke's roots in the Army Museum System brought a new level of experience to Fort Drum's and the 10th Mountain Division's Historical Collection. The number one job of the new curator was to move the Historical Collection to the new Heritage Center. Soldiers, volunteers and Public Works employees proceeded to design, lift, move, and build the new facility which reopened on April 19, 2007. In September of 2008, Ed Turner was hired as the new Collections Manager greatly expanding the ability of the Museum to display the Division's and Post's history. Mr. Turner's efforts to organize, catalogue, document and store over 5,000 separate artifacts combined with the new facility resulted in an official upgrade from a historical collection to a fully fledged museum.
In 2013 the 10th Mountain Division & Fort Drum Museum volunteered to be one of the first museums in the army to receive extensive upgrades to their facilities. Artifacts not on display would be professionally stored by the Center of Military History and new professionally designed exhibits would be created. From a train station, to a larger World War II building to the Heritage Center, the Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division Museum has seen continuous improvement. The 2015 redesign and opening is the next milestone in the effort to document and preserve the storied history of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum.