While the words "exciting and new” are probably not ones immediately associated with a cemetery, they are precisely the words being used to describe a proposed initiative in Boscawen.
The 1,200 square foot, state-of-the-art, multimedia Veterans Heritage Learning Center is being created at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery with a goal of capturing the heroic stories and experiences of New Hampshire veterans throughout our nation’s military history.
The center will offer a 21st Century interactive educational and historical experience for citizens, especially school children, and will illustrate New Hampshire’s military history from the 17th century to present day. Included in the features of the proposed Learning Center will be kiosks, free-standing exhibit walls, the Foot Locker theater, a main theater screen and a Wall of Honor depicting all of the Medal of Honor recipients from New Hampshire. Flanking that will be an interactive “On This Day” touchscreen that will offer significant historical facts for each day of the year.
Retired Brig. Gen. Steve Curry spoke with Peter St. James and Pat Kelly on “Good Morning New Hampshire” on 107.7 The Pulse and 107.3 WEMJ on Wednesday.
“It is not a visitors center, it’s not a museum, it’s an education center," said Curry, fundraising chairman for the project. "The motivation behind it came from school teachers. We currently welcome over 350 students annually to the Cemetery. With this project, we hope to at least triple school visits within the next few years as we work with schools and teachers to design curricula to correlate with our exhibits and history."
With a goal of $700,000, the association has raised almost $300,000 (40 percent) with additional proposals that are presently out to foundations, corporations and a small group of individuals. The plans are for the fundraising campaign to go “public” in early spring as 50 percent of the goal is approached.
At this point, the proposed opening and dedication of the New Hampshire Veterans Heritage Learning Center is scheduled for Nov. 11 at the Veterans Day Ceremony. This year also marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice/Veterans Day national observance.
Curry said of the 104 acre Veterans Cemetery, which was legislatively establish on July 1, 1997, (of which 14 acres are presently developed).
“We like to call it kind of like Arlington, but smaller and better," Curry said.
To learn more about the NH Veterans Cemetery and the Heritage Learning Center Building Campaign, click here.