Bong Center Adds Three New Displays

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center added three new displays to its exhibit gallery.

Museums are constantly changing and need to introduce new content to keep the public coming back. “If you don’t change out exhibits or displays you become a onetime stop.” stated Hayes Scriven, Executive Director of the Center. “These three new displays are part of a larger full exhibit gallery redesign we are working on.”

In 2018 the Center opened new exhibits on Major Bong and Northland area Medal of Honor recipients. The three new displays are the next step in the Center’s transformation. Scriven adds “The main exhibit gallery has not been fully updated since the we opened, we are long overdue for a change.” The full gallery redesign will be completed in 2020, but for now, the public can see three new displays as part of the general admission.

Weapons of War

“Weapons of War” is a display that explores weapons spanning the last century. It features select artifacts from the center’s extensive collection of weapons that have been used for defense, survival, and ceremony.  From World War I automatic weapons to Vietnam era Light Anti-Tank Weapons to ceremonial knives–visitors get a close up look at the technology found in weapons used throughout the 20th Century.

 Bong Center Patch Panel

The Center has created an interactive patch panel that mimics an original panel that was created by patrons of the Harbor Tavern in the Allouez neighborhood of Superior. The original panel consists of 95 WWII shoulder sleeve insignia and signatures from local veterans.  It hung in the bar for almost 50 years until the tavern closed in 1990.  Since then it has been on display at the Belgium Club and at the Center.  The exhibit has recently been expanded to include a bar, a children’s make-your-own patch station, and a brand new “Bong Center Patch Panel”.   We are asking the community to help us create a new patch panel, featuring the shoulder sleeve insignia of any veteran or active duty service member who would like to participate.  In return, participating veterans will receive a special Bong Center history patch.  

D-Day Paratrooper

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, more than 13,000 paratroopers from allied countries jumped behind enemy lines on D-Day.  Our new “Paratrooper Exhibit” honors all the men who fought and died on that day 75 years ago. Featured in the exhibit is a figure dressed in period correct equipment hanging from the ceiling in “jump position”.  Telling the story of the 82nd and 101st airborne, you will experience the D-Day jump and first hours of fighting through the eyes of local veteran Chester Brooks.  Original artifacts, maps, and interpretation will show how essential the airborne were to Allied success.

The Paratrooper display is currently on display now.

All the displays are currently open and can be seen as part of the General Admission tour for the Center

About the Bong Center
The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.

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