Patton Museum in the midst of change
FORT KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Patton Museum at Fort Knox is in the midst of a huge long-term transformation. The changes at the museum reflect the changes at the army post.
If you drive down Highway 31-W at Fort Knox, you will notice the old World War II army barracks that is sitting near the museum.
"This particular building was built in 1943," says museum director Christopher Kolakowski. "At one time there were 3,000 of them here at Fort Knox."
It is the only one left, and soon it will be restored as part of the re-built and re-branded Patton Museum.
"There are a lot of people who want to see this restored," says Kolakowski, "so they can take their trip down memory lane."
The name of the museum is now the General George Patton Museum of Leadership. While a few tanks remain, many of the tank displays that were here last year are gone, having been moved to the new home of armor, Fort Benning, Georgia.
Today about two-thirds of the museum is empty, waiting for $5 million in new exhibits to be built reflecting the new mission of Fort Knox and the museum.
"We want to remake the museum to tell the story of army leadership," says Kolakowski. "It is a multi-year, multi-million dollar process, and we are about 30 percent of the way through, but we are on our way."
Many of the new exhibits will give visitors a more hands-on experience.
"One of the things we want to do is to show the Vietnam experience," explains Kolakowski, "to give people a sense of what it was like to be a junior leader in the jungle. We want to immerse people in the jungle with a virtual walk-through."
He hopes the transformation will be completed by June of 2014, the centennial of the start of World War I.
During the transition, the museum remains open seven days a week. Admission is free.