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Medal of Honor foundation chooses new museum site

Hospitality and Tourism
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The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation has chosen Arlington, Texas, for the future site of the museum one year after rebuffing Mount Pleasant.

“Arlington, Texas is the optimal location to build America’s next national treasure: the National Medal of Honor Museum,” Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a news release. “All of us at the museum were simply overwhelmed with the enthusiasm, warmth and level of commitment of those involved, who have worked beyond expectation to have the museum come to Texas.”

The landside museum had been planned at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant for years. But the foundation decided in October 2018 to search for a new location after conversations Daniels had with the board and because of growing tension between the foundation and the town.

The National Medal of Honor Museum currently is located on the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point and is operated by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Patriots Point. It is not affected by the Texas museum project.

Daniels had invited Mount Pleasant to participate in the foundation’s search for a new location, but Mount Pleasant officials and leaders of the Patriots Point Development Authority, which owned the land that was to be used for the museum, declined to do so.

Instead, a local group formed the National Medal of Honor Heritage Foundation to build a heritage center in Mount Pleasant dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients. The heritage foundation is currently soliciting donations from public, private and corporate donors.

The museum foundation said it chose Arlington based on the city’s location, size, number of visitors and community support, according to the release.

The foundation’s board expects to select an architect for the project in early 2020. The Mount Pleasant museum had been designed by Moshe Safdie, and his design was one of the points of contention in the project here.

The heritage foundation is currently working to get the museum foundation to remove "national" from its name. Heritage foundation Chairman Tommy McQueeney has said he doesn't have a problem with multiple Medal of Honor museums, as long as it's recognized that only one nationally designated museum exists.

A law passed by Congress in 1999 recognizes three sites as National Medal of Honor sites: the Medal of Honor Memorial at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Calif.; the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial at White River State Park in Indianapolis; and the Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point.

"The other group has no such designation, nor does Arlington, Texas," Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie said in a text message.

He also noted that the Medal of Honor Society offices are currently on the USS Yorktown and would be moved to the Mount Pleasant landside heritage center site, according to current plans for the center.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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