The Sallows Military Museum is a small museum in Alliance, Nebraska, dedicated to those who served or are serving in the US military.
It is in the old city swimming pool bath house, which the City of Alliance provided to the organization, and it has one paid employee — Suzan; one part-time employee – Jan; and a bunch of volunteers (me included) who come in to assist Suzan by being there so she can deal with a backlog of donated materials, housekeeping issues, and those all-important meetings all administrators “get” to attend.
I go in for three hours on Wednesdays during the Winter Hours season, and probably will return to Thursdays for the Summer Season hours. Yeah, I’m a life member of the museum support group, too!
All of the exhibits are donations or lent items from local people with military materials, from veterans, family members of veterans, even random people who have items of interest who feel the museum can better conserve and preserve those materials.
Suzan and Jan have made progress cleaning and organizing the collection since Suzan became the director of the museum. Material that came in during the period between the previous director’s last day and Suzan’s first day several months later created a backlog that continues to be her priority to catalog and work into the mix of displays.
What is of particular interest to locals is how many men and women in these photos lining the shelves are the younger selves of people we often knew as parents of people we went to school with: Heroes hide among us! But time is thinning out the ranks, making the museum all the more important as a depository of the collective memory of a community’s military contributions.
One remarkable resource at the museum is a collection of veterans’ personal remembrances of their military service. Some include letters written from war zones, all detail the experiences of the veteran. These first source references probably need to be held in reserve for researchers at some point, but now sit on an open shelf where anyone with the time and interest can take them down and read through them.