THE MUSEUM'S HISTORY
● The concept of The Museum of Military History was devised in a tent at the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall in St. Cloud, Florida. ● Vietnam Veteran, Mr. Jerry Kervin and his brother Jim, along with another Vietnam Vet, Dave Roberts, had an idea to ask the manager of the Osceola Square Mall in Kissimmee, Florida if they could use a storefront to permanently display items donated and loaned by members of the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA), Osceola County Chapter 755. ● The three charter members called their display, the “Veterans Tribute” at the time.
● The “Veterans Tribute” opened in the Osceola Square Mall, Unit #70, and was initiated by the two Kervin brothers.
● The Museum content was solely donated by the local veteran community.
● Once open to the public, the museum was staffed by volunteers from VVA Chapter 755.
● After the museum’s grand opening, the museum’s founders, the Kervin brothers along with Mr. Frank Clark, began the required paperwork to get the “Veterans Tribute” incorporated.
● The first organizational meeting and election of the “Veterans Tribute and Museum” was held in the space formerly occupied by Morrison’s Cafeteria.
● The by-laws and mission statements were enacted.
● The officers elected were Jim Kervin (Chairman of the Board of Directors), Jerry Kervin (Vice Chairman), Mike Goode (Secretary), and Frank Clark (Treasurer).
●John Della Costa, Dave Conboy, Ron Zak, Tony C. and Harry DeMaria were elected to the Board of Directors.
● Within three days after this first meeting, incorporation papers were filed with the State of Florida.
● The “Veterans Tribute” was moved to unit #80; the main entrance to the mall.
● While there, the decision was made to separate the “Veterans Tribute” from VVA Chapter 755.
● The incorporation documents and Employer Identification Number were issued by the state of Florida.
● The Veterans Tribute & Museum of Osceola County, Inc., filed for non-profit status as a Veterans Organization and not-for-profit status as 501(c)19 from the IRS.
● They received the Determination Letter from the IRS with designation as a 501(c)19 Veterans Organization, with deductibility, was made effective on June 30, 2004.
● The search for support, funding and a new permanent home for the museum really began at this time.
The Later Years
- As more people discovered and visited the museum, more material donations continued to be brought in as the limited available space within the store front became a problem.
- The Osceola County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) was approached with the idea that a permanent location outside of the mall be found and dedicated as a museum.
- This site would provide tourists and residents with a place that would tell the story of the sacrifices that our military’s men and women have made and provide an opportunity to educate the public.
- The BOCC agreed that they would assist us in this project in 2004.
- Over the next few years the museum would move a couple times within the mall.
The Later Years continued…
- A team was formed to conduct a feasibility study to see if having a museum would benefit the county and the community.
- This study was conducted by the Museum, Osceola County and Valencia College personnel under the direction of Chairman, Don Smith.
- The results of the study showed that a Museum would benefit the County and Community, and serve as a resource for Veterans in the Central Florida area.
The Later Years continued…
• The Museum established its internship programs with Valencia College and Workforce Central Florida to help support the museum.
• High school volunteer programs from Osceola County schools provide training and volunteer hours for our county’s students.
• The Museum of Military History opened its doors to the Public on Saturday March 31, 2012 following a ceremony to dedicate the Museum to all Veterans, those heroes who were lost in battle, those who have served, those who are serving today and to the communities of Osceola County