Bong Veterans Historical Center Unveils New Permanent Exhibit

The Bong Historical Center in Superior is putting the finishing touches on its new $50,000 exhibit on the Korean and Vietnam wars.

SUPERIOR, Wisc. – The Bong Veterans Historical Center is on the home stretch of a nearly two-year project of a brand new exhibit about the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Because of grant funds and private donations, the center was able to make this exhibit the largest built since it opened in 2002.

“We had some veterans come to us and say, when are you going to tell our story,” Bong Veterans Historical Center Executive Director, Dustin Heckman says.

Now, the Bong Historical Center in Superior is putting the finishing touches on its new $50,000 exhibit on the Korean and Vietnam wars.

With parts of it now starting from the floor and going to the ceiling bringing each one to life.

“We’ve got a lot of vets here. They keep asking us when it’s going to open because they are really excited about it,” Heckman says.

Allowing the vets to visualize their stories from the past.

“You’re putting yourself right inside the exhibit and you feel very much surrounded by Vietnam. By Vietnam pictures and artifacts and so forth,” Vietnam Veteran, Clint Mattson says.

The exhibit also showcases one of the first hands-on exhibits with morse code.

“How we found the enemy and how the enemy was dispatched is what this room is all about,” Vietnam Veteran, Ryan Jost says.

For Yost, the memory of the morse code alphabet never left.

“I did it for four years with the army security agency,” Jost says.

Even though he hasn’t seen that alphabet in over 50 years.

“I tapped through the whole alphabet without even thinking,” Jost says.

Soon, more people will know the stories of these local veterans through shared personal experiences in the final section of the exhibit.

“I think what people will be drawn to is what will be in this space right here. That’s going to be a very powerful portion of the exhibit for a lot of people to see.”

Members of the historical center hope the permanent exhibit will be open by the end of the Month.

Because of the pandemic, management is currently working on how to conduct a soft opening.

They will plan a larger grand opening in the future.

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