June 17, 2022
It has been a long journey in our quest to obtain an operating location we have finally opened the Lawrence House. On Saturday, June 11, 2022, we conducted a preview attended by several invited guests. It was an exciting event as we highlighted digital and stationary displays. The highlight was the beautiful Revolutionary War Exhibit occupying an entire room including a beautiful diorama of the Battle of Petticoat Ridge, constructed by Vic Ramos. There is also a touch screen monitor containing history of the Revolutionary War era.
In adjourning rooms there are displays of WWI & WWII, created by Rich Hill, including several dioramas created by Alex Glisson. There are Revolutionary War uniforms provided by Colin Zimmermann creating a moment in time of the uniforms worn during the Revolutionary War. He has also created a short exhibit of the Civil War. There is an Orientation Video including remarks by Burlington Mayor Barry Conaway and the AFHM Executive Director Roy Plummer. Mayor Conaway presented a city proclamation welcoming the AFHM to the city of Burlington. There is a Gold Star Exhibit featuring material provided by Judy Young a AFHM member and a Past National President of the Gold Star Mothers organization. She and John lost their son in Beirut. There is a tablet providing pictures of several military members who lost their lives in military service. Adjacent to that display is a touch screen providing pictures and resumes of New Jersey Medal of Honor recipients.
In the next room is a video production featuring the Greatest Generation Video reflecting interviews of several veterans who served during WWII and battle examples. There is a Westinghouse Console Radio with a touch screen monitor on top that provides a variety of WWII era music and war broadcasts. An interesting room that takes you back in time to enjoy a significant period of history. In the next room there is a sales store providing a variety of items for purchase.
This was all accomplished under the direction of Roy Plummer who possesses experience in museum operations as he served for several years on the Board of Directors at the Roebling Museum. He was assisted by Bryan Branson who provided engineering advice, carpentry and electrical expertise in installing several of the displays. Ther were several other members who dedicated their time and effort over the last six months to make this happen. We are extremely fortunate to have members with the desire to support our mission to Honor, Preserve and Educate the community on the rich military history of New Jersey and the neighboring region.
Of course, this all comes with a cost and as a nonprofit organization we rely on grants and donations to support the organization. We have received grant support from the Burlington County Commissioners, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Investors Bank, several individual contributions and fundraising activities. The museum will be a work in progress as we have plans for to present displays of the Civil War, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War, Iraq and Afghanistan in the future.
The results we are enjoying is directly attributed to the support of the Burlington County Historical Society, the past two years we have had several meetings with their President Bernadette Boyle, Executive Director Lisa Fox Pfeiffer and staff members discussing the possible use of the vacant Lawrence House. In November 0f 2020 a use agreement was drawn up and after a legal review was accomplished, we signed an agreement to use the facility. There have been repairs accomplished and we were able to start work in January and had the official opening on June 12, 2022.
Through the efforts of Billy Terrell, I was able to participate in the Joe Piscopo Show at 8:40 on June 9, 2022. It was a significant opportunity to promote the mission of the AFHM and the opening of the Lawrence House scheduled for June 12, 2022. Thanks, Billy, for making this happen.
Ron Hathaway attended the Memorial Day Ceremony in Ewing Township, New Jersey and gave an outstanding speech and promoted the AFHM museum at the conclusion of the ceremony. He also stayed and interacted with the residents at the pavilion where refreshments were served.
Roy Plummer attended the Springfield Township Memorial Day ceremony and was the guest speaker. Colin Zimmermann also attended and did a reenactor event. Another opportunity for getting the AFHM notoriety.
On June11, 2022, we conducted a soft opening to highlight the museum. There were 50 invited guests in attendance who made generous donations and purchased items in the sales store. Marvel Carrol and Fred Hogan staffed the store. Guests was provided with a symbolic candle with our logo attached. Food was provided and donated by Doc’s Pub. Senators Singleton and Stanfield along with the Mayor of Burlington City, Barry Conaway was in attendance. Rich Hill wore a WWI Army uniform and looked magnificent. A wonderful event to start the weekend. Thanks to all our members for the demanding work they put forth to make this happen.
On June 12, 2022, the official took place at 11 AM. The son of Lisa Fox Pfeiffer, Harry sang the National Anthem and did a fantastic rendition in honor of the Flag of the United States of America. Colin Zimmermann arranged for reenactors to ware military uniforms and display artifacts for the attendees to view. Sam Davis portraying General George Washington and gave an excellent tribute to our “Ragged Old Flag”. He has also agreed to become a member. Mayor Conaway also attended the event. We will be opening on weekends from 11 AM to 4 PM. We will need members to sign up and devote time to staff the museum. Please come out and support this effort.
All our committee chairpersons and officers continue to perform in an excellent fashion. They are submitting required reports prior to the meeting and continue to devote time and effort to the Lawrence House. A special thank you to all for your dedication to the AFHM.
With the operation of the Lawrence House and Mobile Museum, we now have increased responsibility to support both operations. So, I appeal to everyone to sign up to staff the Lawrence House and make sometime available to cover the museum operation. We also must focus on the conduct of our Annual Dinner, and we will be meeting on June 21, 2022, to continue planning that event.
In closing, Myra Wille has resigned due to health issues so please keep her in you r thoughts and prayers. Be Well and Stay Safe.
Robert S. Dutko, Sr.,