By Katrina Van Duzee.Garden Grove Journal
Almost two years have passed since the city of Garden Grove began exploring the idea of constructing a Vietnam War museum. The results of this consideration include the formation of a nonprofit organization, successful fundraising events and a potential location secured.
Board members of the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation, a nonprofit organized to plan and orchestrate fundraising for the museum project, are astounded by the progress made and support from the community on this massive endeavor, VWMAF Board member Peter Katz said.
At a recent promotional event that brought the “Moving Wall” to the city not only was support for the project raised, but also an estimated $20,000.
“We need to build on this momentum and keep this dream alive,” Katz said.
Although the committee saw success with the Moving Wall exhibit, one of their next steps is to find a home for the museum.
Garden Grove recently acquired for $2.45 million a vacant auto dealership on Harbor Boulevard currently being considered for the museum’s location, according to council member and VWMAF Vice President Bruce Broadwater.
“People don’t think you’re serious and won’t really donate until you have a project put together and a building established,” Broadwater said.
The committee has a surplus of ideas on how to convert the 1.5-acre lot with a 17,000 square-foot building into an impressive and educational museum.
Plans include borrowing pieces from the Smithsonian Institute collection, along with other universities around the country who don’t have a place to showcase their pieces of history, Katz said.
Another idea is to have an interactive database where visitors can look up any name of a soldier killed in the Vietnam War and read a complete biography on them.
“We live in such a technologically-advanced world and there are so many ideas we could incorporate. I don’t think we could even fulfill 10 percent of all the ideas we have come up with so far,” Broadwater said.
The VWMAF plans to have a committee meeting in early November to go over how to raise additional funds, draft a layout for the building and decide what educational functions will be integrated in the museum’s plan.
For additional information on the VWMAF and their mission visit http://vietnam.garden-grove.org/.