FORT WORTH – What started as a small project to collect and preserve military history in Fort Worth, is now a life-size museum that is being redeveloped and larger than ever.
“We were originally a small group of people who just shared stories about military history that we had encountered,” said its executive director, Tyler Alberts.
Alberts is delighted that the Fort Worth Military Museum has moved to its new location inside the Ridgmar Mall and that the 13-year-old project once known as the Small Fort Worth Military Museum is no longer so small.
“Did I expect to have a 10,000 square foot museum? It was a goal, but I didn’t know it was going to happen,” he said.
The new 11,000 square foot former retail space is ready to welcome even more war history fans.
“We cover all the wars of the 20th century,” Alberts said.
Where military history buffs can enjoy life-size reconstructions of war environments.
“Being on the Vietnam trail when tired and hot or being in a WWI trench,” Alberts said of the museum’s interactive features.
The museum has countless military artifacts that visitors can spend hours discovering.
“Ammo boxes, anything, anything you can imagine and we have a lot of that on display. This is something that most museums do not display. We find it really interesting, ”said Alberts.
Some of the collectibles on display, Alberts and other museum contributors have gone overseas to pick up or dig for themselves.
“We are organizing archaeological trips to go back to specific battlefields in France and to do research and talk with farmers and get permission to go to their property,” he said.
The ability to continue to operate the museum in a greater capacity is an accomplishment that Alberts is very proud of, but he said his main goal is to continue to honor veterans of the past and present.
Throughout the museum there are stories about the brave men and women of the United States of America, told through their personal belongings on display.
“This guy here, Hollingsworth… look at his decorated, he’s the second most decorated soldier behind Audie Murphy in US history,” he said.
Fortunately, the museum has important allies like Rhett Perez, 21, who in pure military style folds the museum’s shirts into the gift shop and does whatever he can to help.
Perez says he wants to make sure the museum is successful.
“By planning more things for the future, I am truly honored that they considered me for the position I am in,” said Perez.
The young volunteer hopes that more young people like him will visit the museum and discover the unique opportunity he says it offers.
“See these things in person, artifacts, uniforms and things that they couldn’t really see up close before,” he said.
The next step is to make it even more interactive for all visitors. As a student, Perez learns about technology he can use to provide personal digital tours via QR codes around the museum.
“Maybe five years from now, with the right support from the community and the public… we could expand into a facility of about 50,000 square feet that would allow us to display all the jeeps and vehicles as well.”
The plan is to become a must see tourist attraction in Cowtown.