Museum of the West’s renovation opens Army story

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By Ethan Bradley –

A newly crafted and curated Museum of the West reopened April 9 at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont, featuring the early seeds of The Salvation Army and the roots of the movement in the Western United States.

“The renovation strives to incorporate the rich historical information presented by former curators while employing new trends in museum design, most notably flexible gallery space,” said Sheila Chatterjee, library and museum director at CFOT.

The experience follows a timeline of specific touchpoints in Western Territory history, from the earliest corps to the latest Kroc Center. Visitors will see people they know who have had an impact on the West’s story.

“We created modular displays, which integrate text and images on large, cloth banners,” Chatterjee said. “They can be interchanged and redesigned easily and inexpensively.”

She noted that the museum had been rewired to also accommodate digital displays of information.

“The museum staff are, of course, primarily concerned with historical accuracy,” Chatterjee said. “In order to ensure that we achieve this goal, the information on our banners and in our displays is all drawn from material published by The Salvation Army. Every fact is documented. We mined our historical photo database, old War Crys, historical [Disposition of Forces] and other records for the information that would eventually make its way into the museum.”  

A museum guide helps connects faces and names for visitors.

As Chatterjee said, “It’s an honor to be entrusted with these personal histories and to ensure they are not lost.”

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