It has been about three months since the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum’s doors were closed indefinitely on Fort Gordon, and concerns over what’s next for it are being expressed around town and on social media.
Hoping to raise awareness of the museum’s current status, and potentially dispel any rumors, Amy Tuschen said the museum’s fate is largely in the hands of the community.
Tuschen, executive director for the Fort Gordon Historical Museum Society, said a new location has been identified, but the funds necessary to acquire it have not come through yet.
Now the Fort Gordon Historical Museum Society, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is trying to raise sufficient money to purchase the new site before the former location is demolished in preparation for construction of the new Cyber Center of Excellence campus.
“Unfortunately, the Signal Museum is in the footprint of that new construction,” Tuschen said, adding that she knew the day would come when the museum would be forced to relocate.
Located a short distance from Gate 1 on Gordon Highway, Tuschen said plans are in motion to relocate the museum to the former National Science Center building. While the ideal situation would be to relocate somewhere on Fort Gordon, it’s simply not possible due to lack of available, adequate space.
But it isn’t all bad news. The new site is a very short distance from Fort Gordon, making it easily accessible for everyone.
“Having it off post will also open up the market for other people to be able to get there,” Tuschen said.
In the meantime, the museum’s artifacts are being carefully packed and prepared to move elsewhere, if only temporarily.
“The Center for Military History is actually responsible for all of the Army museums, and they sent a team down here to work with the curator to pack things up … now they’re ready to go to other locations,” Tuschen said.
The Army is sending most packed items to a museum in Anniston, Alabama, which will serve as an interim holding place.
Several artifacts that are not signal-related have already moved to other museums. One of the goals, Tuschen said, is to keep as many items rehoused on Fort Gordon as possible until the final move.
“For example, the statue of Mercury is very unique and so the intent is to bring that over to the Signal School and let that stay here on display, Tuschen said.
Other irreplaceable artifacts include a large piece of the Berlin Wall, Oscar statuettes that were awarded to the Signal Corps in the 1940s, and one of Adolf Hitler’s telephones taken from his personal library.
Tuschen said that the sooner they are able to secure the future site, the better the chances are of artifacts remaining in the area.
“They need to have this building vacated before August, so they’re looking at moving the pallets and things that are already packed up sometime in June,” Tuschen said. “There’s so much history that would be lost that has been here all this time, and not only that, we are trying to grow to show the cyber history and to touch on the other things that Signal Corps has created.”
If you would like to learn more about the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum and ways to support it, visit www.secureourstory.org.