FORT JACKSON, SC -- The Fort Jackson Post Museum closed its doors about a year ago for remodeling and redesignation as the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum.

Since then, the building has been totally renovated, including the installation of new bathrooms and a new roof. In addition, a new collections facility was built adjacent to the main building.

Bessie Williams, the museum's director, said she had hoped that the facility would be open by now, but that construction delays changed the project timeline.

"There were certain issues that came up that weren't expected, so that pushed things back," she said.

Williams said that the museum being closed has left a void in the community, especially on family days, when visitors' numbers average between 800 and 1,000.

"We are packed when we're open on family day," Williams said. "I just hate seeing those folks out there and not being able to come into my facility."

Currently, the museum is scheduled to reopen in October or November.
"We are really shooting for that, because it is way time for this museum to be back open to the public, and we want (everyone) to see that it was well worth the wait," she said.

With its redesignation, the museum will have a different focus once it reopens. In the past, the exhibits highlighted the history of Fort Jackson, beginning with the post's opening as Camp Jackson in 1917. Upon its reopening, the museum will concentrate strictly on basic training throughout the years.

Julie Wiegand, museum technician, explained that 15 topics, such as land navigation, physical training and weapons training, will be highlighted in each of the museum's four galleries. The galleries will focus on different time periods - World War I, World War II, the Cold War era and the present.

"We're trying to show that with all the progress we've made, the level of training got better, but (the mission) is basically the same," Williams said.

She added that more emphasis will be placed on explaining artifacts by using text panels, graphics and information kiosks.

"It's going to be totally different," she said. "We're going to bring more technology into it."

Wiegand said she hopes that Soldiers from different generations will be able to identify with the new exhibit.

"I'm happy that we're finally going to bring this back up and running, because training is unifying for Soldiers past, present and future," Wiegand said. "Everybody has to go through training. They can all relate to that. Not everybody goes to combat. Not everybody spends a couple of years in Germany, but everybody has to go through training."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16