For Bob Traphagan, it's a mission accomplished -- and a dream fulfilled.

The Grove City resident has found a permanent space to display the military memorabilia he has collected over the past quarter century.

Traphagan plans to open the Central Ohio Military Museum on Nov. 11 at 1010 High St. in Harrisburg. He closed on an agreement Sept. 4 to purchase the building from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11208.

The VFW will continue to hold its meetings in the building until it finds a new home.

"It's very exciting to finally be at the point where the museum is becoming a reality," Traphagan said. "It's something I've been working on for 10 years. When I found out the VFW building was up for sale and saw it, I knew this was the place."

The building's 4,200 square feet of space will allow Traphagan to display about 50 to 60 percent of his collection, which includes hundreds of uniforms from all branches of the service and thousands of other pieces that include medals, books, letters, photographs, insignia, military pins and other memorabilia.

"What I will be doing is organizing a rotation of special exhibits relating to a particular theme, or a branch of the service or a type of item to go along with the items we'll have on permanent display," he said.

"Creating this museum has been all about honoring our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our country," Traphagan said. "That the museum will be housed in a VFW building makes it even more meaningful for me."

The museum's opening day of Nov. 11 will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Traphagan is seeking donations to help pay the cost of converting the building from a VFW post to a museum, purchasing mannequins, cases and other display fixtures and other expenses related to operating a museum.

"I wanted to wait until we had a location secured before I started asking for donations," he said. "We will have an admission fee of a $1 donation. We won't have different admission fees for different ages."

The museum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

Opening day is fast approaching, Traphagan said.

"We have a lot of work to do to get things ready for at least a soft opening that day," he said.

Volunteers, including other military buffs and reenactors, are helping with the preparation and will help staff the museum after it opens.

Traphagan said he still is determining the hours of operation, but expects the museum to be open daily.

A phone has been installed at the museum and the number is 614-992-4110.

The museum will feature all periods of U.S. military history and will include a tribute to Gold Star veterans from southwest Franklin County.

Visitors will be able to get refreshments and watch documentaries in a canteen area.

Although he searched in vain for a feasible location in Grove City, Traphagan said, he is pleased the museum will open only about six miles from the city's Town Center and the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum.

"Bob has provided us with items for a number of our exhibits, and we're so happy he's been able to find a location for his own museum," said Don Ivers, the welcome center and museum's visitor guide and host.

"His museum is going to be such an important resource for our community, to educate people about our military history and as a way to honor those who have served," he said.

More information about the museum and a donation link is available at thecomm.org.

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