In a move designed to further strengthen Nassau County’s tourism and the county’s destination tourism industry while providing a new source of revenue for the county’s park system, the Museum of American Armor will build a 25,000 square foot facility just inside the grounds of Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage.
The ability of the museum to create a military armored column that replicates the sights and sounds of American forces during World War II offers one of the most compelling educational tools our region has in telling the seminal story of American courage, valor and sacrifice. Placing it in this unique setting of vintage farm houses and country roads creates a virtual time machine that ensures a powerful regional, national and international destination for visitors.
This multipurpose effort of OBVR is also an unprecedented opportunity to expand the scope of the complex by creating a complimentary use and thereby reawaking public awareness, improving attendance and strengthening revenue for a county park system that has been hurt by the recession.
Lawrence Kadish, Chairman and founder of the Museum of American Armor, stated, “Seeing these vehicles cross an open field as Airpower’s vintage fighters fly overhead recreates a moment in time that allows us to begin to appreciate what was required by our grandfathers to defeat an evil that even today we cannot fully comprehend. Our goal is to bring the sights and sounds of American history to a new generation and thereby pay tribute to those who defended our freedoms.”
Visitors will walk through the museum’s camouflaged front doors that have been heavily sandbagged similar to the way important bunkers were protected some 70 years ago. Inside, a gift shop and administrative office will occupy a modest amount of space as the bulk of the building will be devoted to the display of some 30 vehicles. Half a dozen times a year, and in coordination with OBVR programming, these vehicles will be presented in the field or on the Village’s country roads as living historians offer displays on WW II tactics.
History Channel Historian applauds expansion of history tourism
Chief Historian for the History Channel, Dr. Libby O’Connell, observed, “This announcement marks a unique commitment by public and private sectors to preserve and present a seminal chapter in the history of our nation and our world. It also reflects a commitment to apply a variety of innovative resources to the task of funding the preservation of our history. By using complimentary periods within the same space, Nassau County has strategically enhanced the ability of Old Bethpage Village Restoration to be a stronger destination for local residents, tourists and those who live within the tri-state area.
The arrival of the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration will allow for a joint marketing program with the nearby American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport and Nassau County’s Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field, Garden City.
Operational vehicles that will be on public display include an iconic Sherman tank, a Stuart light tank used extensively by the Marines during their Pacific campaigns, a potent 155 mm howitzer, reconnaissance vehicles that acted as armored scouts for American forces, anti aircraft guns and similar weapons that broke the back of the Axis powers during World War II. Other vehicles range from a classic LaSalle staff car in the markings of a Fleet Admiral to jeeps, weapons carriers and half tracks. Multimedia displays will augment the display of vehicles and visitors will be able to see tanks under repair and restoration.