By Ken Corn
BREVARD, North Carolina (WLOS) — The North Carolina Humanities awarded the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas a grant from the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress this year.
The museum will use the $20,000 grant to pay for operations costs for 2021. The museum survives on donations from visitors to pay for a lease, insurance and utilities.
Operating during the COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges for the museum. For the first few months of 2021, the North Carolina was under lockdown mandates that prevented the museum from resuming full operating hours. Now that most statewide mandates have been lifted, the museum still hasn’t restored operations to pre-pandemic hours.
Museum curator Emmett Casciato said the grant was vital to keeping the museum funded while slowly reopening and operating with reduced hours.
“This museum, since it opened three years ago in the location we are in, generated thousands of visitors, and, through the visitors, the restaurants and our shops in town really benefited from us,” Casciato said. “We have so many veterans that come in our museum. We offer our veterans lectures, a PTSD group that meets, we have families that come in and see their relatives’ artifacts and the way we display them with respect and honor. I think it is important that we keep our doors open, and through this grant that will happen.
Casciato said the museum connects visitors with historical experiences that encourage dialogue, deepening human connections with the sacrifices of those that inspire future generations.
“It’s not just about the artifacts. It’s about the personal stories that we receive from these veterans. And we pass that on to visitors throughout the United States and make it really exciting,” Casciato said. “When you come into our museum, you are going to be celebrating history through our military and all the sacrifices and honor and all the things they gave to us and their families, as well.”
Funds for the grant came from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. The North Carolina Humanities is a statewide nonprofit that ensures North Carolina’s cultural experiences are preserved for its residents.
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