Mayor Will Haynie, Town of Mt. Pleasant and NMOHLEC Board member welcomes Mayor John Tecklenburg, City of Charleston.
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (Sept. 14, 2023) – The Congressional Medal of Honor Society launched the construction today of a $3.5 million project on the USS Yorktown that will transform the Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point with immersive experiences and never-before-seen artifacts to tell the personal stories of those who have received the nation’s highest award for military valor.
Participating in the event were representatives of the National Medal of Honor Leadership and Education Center (the Leadership and Education Center), which is funding the renovations, and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, home to the USS Yorktown. The Medal of Honor Museum, which has been located on the USS Yorktown since 1994, will reopen to the public in spring of 2024.
The museum is the national home of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Recipients who wear the Medal, and its core values: courage, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, citizenship, and patriotism. The current facility was designated by Congress under the National Medal of Honor Memorial Act in 1999 as a National Medal of Honor Site and the new project underscores the commitment of the Society, the Center, and Patriots Point to preserving and teaching the legacy of the Medal and the Recipients.
The museum will feature inspiring and interactive exhibits for all ages, documenting the experiences of those who have received the award. The museum and archives preserve the legacy of the 3,536 awards of the Medal and the 19 dual Recipients. Society President Leroy Petry and Melvin Morris represented the 66 living Recipients at the sledgehammer ceremony on Thursday that launched the construction.
“This museum will play a critical role in telling the stories of those who sacrificed so much in service to their country and their fellow citizens,” said Petry, a retired Army Master Sergeant, who received the Medal for his actions in Afghanistan during the War on Terror. “By sharing these stories and the values inherent in them, we can show the responsibility and potential within each one of us to inspire the world.”
The museum’s design, by M. Catton & Co. of Le Mars, Iowa, encourages physical interaction and personal introspection.
New artifacts will include:
- The New Testament & Psalms and The Gospel of St. John that Medal of Honor Recipient Robert Maxwell carried in World War II.
- Vietnam War Recipient James Fleming’s aviator gloves and the navigational “computer” he used during the war as a helicopter pilot.
- World War I Recipient Dwite Schaffner’s Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, and American Expeditionary ID.
NMOHLEC Chairman of the Board
The Leadership and Education Center is in the midst of planning its own $75 million, 50,000-foot facility at Patriots Point that will host corporate and nonprofit organizations for conferences and leadership education programs built around the six core values of the Medal of Honor. Part of this will be an “education laboratory” that will feature a curated, immersive and multimedia visitor experience emphasizing what unites America and promoting the Medal of Honor values in hopes of inspiring people to use these ideals to shape the future.
The Center is also creating a curriculum for students in higher education that is meant to complement the Society’s Character Development Program, which is designed for grades K-12.
The work of the three organizations in developing the new museum also illustrates the strength of their commitment to building a world-class destination for visitors to the region.
“The monumental efforts of both of these organizations, in combination with the rich legacy of the USS Yorktown and USS Laffey, will continue to elevate Patriots Point as a prime, historic travel destination,” said Wayne Adams, Vice Chairman of the Patriots Point Development Authority. “Through this museum, the hundreds of thousands of visitors we greet each year will come to know the rich stories of our Medal of Honor recipients and learn how to apply the values and lessons they learned on the battlefield into their own lives.”
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Medal of Honor and its Recipients, inspiring Americans, and supporting the Recipients as they connect with communities across the country. Chartered by Congress in 1958, its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. There are 66 living Recipients. Learn more about the Medal of Honor and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s initiatives at www.cmohs.org.
The NMOHLEC’s mission is to inspire, develop empower, and challenge leaders through the values embodied by our country’s Medal of Honor Recipients. With a nationwide digital educational platform and audience-curated visitor experiences, Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and locations will learn leadership values of courage, sacrifice, citizenship, integrity, commitment, and patriotism to inspire them to transform lives, shape the future, and carry forward the best traditions of what it means to be an American. For more information, see www.medalofhonorlec.org.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, on the Charleston Harbor, is the #1 attraction in Mount Pleasant, S.C., and is home to a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, and the only Vietnam Support Base Camp in the U.S. Patriots Point is also headquarters to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the agency’s official Medal of Honor Museum.