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LI’s Museum of American Armor to get 10,000 military artifacts

About 10,000 military artifacts are headed to the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage, thanks to a Connecticut military museum that recently closed that is donating its collection, officials announced on Aug. 31, 2017 (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

The Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage will receive the entire collection of a Connecticut military museum that recently closed, it announced Thursday.

The donation from the Danbury-based U.S. Military Museum — comprising some 10,000 military artifacts — will significantly grow the three-year-old repository, which includes a number of working military vehicles, officials said.

“With their donation of armor and exhibits, we have expanded our responsibility to continue honoring that legacy of courage and valor,” museum founder and president Lawrence Kadish said Thursday in Old Bethpage.

The Museum of American Armor recalls the story of World War II through displays of equipment and uniforms.

The eclectic bequest includes a Locust, an American-designed World War II light tank designed to be carried to battle aboard gliders, a German-built Kettenkrad, a motorcycle hybrid with tank tracks, as well as displays that focus on America’s War on Terror.

Officials displayed two of the tanks and completed a test drive of one of them, an M-18 Hellcat tank destroyer, for attendees.

Al Barto, a board member of the U.S. Military Museum, said he knew the Museum of American Armor was the right place to take over the collection. The two museums shared a similar mission.

“I feel good about it, it’s going to a good home,” he said. “If we don’t remember our past, we’re going to repeat it.”

The 22-year-old Danbury museum closed this month following the death three years ago of its founder, John Valluzo.

Selected items from the donation will go on display this fall, as they are relocated to Long Island, Kadish said.

Bill Walden, commander for the Hicksville Veterans of Foreign Wars and a former aviator in the Marines, said he’s long been impressed with the Museum of American Armor’s collection and is enthusiastic about what the donation will bring.

“My grandsons have come on a number of occasions,” he said. “To come here and see all this is fantastic.”

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