Mifflin County native runs PA military museum | News, Sports, Jobs
BOALSBURG — With Mifflin County steeped in military history, from the Logan Guard to the Lincoln Stone in Monument Square, it’s no wonder visitors to the county are drawn to the museum’s rich Civil War memorabilia Pennsylvania military.
“Lewistown has as much service and sacrifice as anyone in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Tyler Gum, a Mifflin County native who has served as the museum’s site administrator since 2016. “Mifflin County has served everywhere to some extent.”
Since Monday is Memorial Day, many families and friends will come to the Boalsburg Museum to pay their respects to loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. The museum has set up a series of special programs this year.
The museum preserves and honors Pennsylvania’s military history from 1747 to the present day, with a particular focus on the 20th century.
“Pennsylvania has always served around the world,” Gum said. The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that there are more than 700,000 veterans in Pennsylvania and approximately 18,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. About 12,000 are World War II veterans and 13,000 are Vietnam veterans.
Memorial Day is a day when loved ones honor and mourn military personnel who have died in service. Gold Star families have lost a loved one – an immediate family member who died as a result of military service, while Blue Star families are authorized by the US government to hang a banner for a family member serving during the war.
If you’ve never been to the museum, this Memorial Day weekend might be the perfect time to take a trip.
“Not everyone likes military history,” Gum said. “We are not just guns, tanks and traitors. We give a personal perspective from the front lines and the home front, both of which contributed to the effort.
All items on display at the 68-acre site, which includes the shrine, monuments, museum and vehicle building, were transported, worn, used or driven by a Pennsylvania veteran.
Many artifacts in the museum come from donations or private collections, estates, other museums in the state system, or military units or soldiers.
We think a lot about the objects that are exhibited in the museum. Preserving and protecting artifacts is a priority for Gum.
“You have to do it right to honor the sacrifices,” he explained.
Every event this weekend is special to him. They all pay homage to fallen soldiers. This is the same as museum exhibits and the artifact list. “It comes with a story, which makes it special,” Gum said.
Memorial Day Events Calendar:
Today: “An unforgettable walk”
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Join A Soldiers Hands, a Center County nonprofit, for a morning of remembrance and reflection. Opening remarks and display of colors will be followed by participants as they begin laps of the walking path. Registration: $25 for adults; $20 for veterans; $15 for 13 to 17 year olds; and free for children under 12.
Today and Sunday: “Life at the front: the Second World War”
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Explore the encampments and talk to living historians of frontline life; discover how Operation Overlord changed the course of World War II and the loves of the soldiers who fought in it. Food available at Rebelz Food Truck. Regular museum admission prices apply.
Today: Uncle Dick: “The Bravest Man I’ve Ever Met”
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Museum volunteer Mike Siggins shares the story of his uncle, US Army Lewistown PFC Richard C. Van Dyke, who was killed in action while crossing the Moselle River by Gen.’s Third Army George S. Patton in September 1944. Battle maps, after action reports and Van Dyke’s personal belongings create a deeper appreciation of the significance of Memorial Day.
Today: On Scapel’s Edge: “Applying hard-won lessons from around the world to fix surgery and heal the psyche”
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
James Markman, MD, is a colorectal surgeon in civilian practice and a trauma surgeon with the United States Army Medical Corps. He began active duty in 2005, deployed twice to Iraq and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained. Lessons learned from his long career for his Memorial Day remarks.
Monday: AACA Allegheny Mountains Area Car Show
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Allegheny Mountains Area Chapter of the Regional Antique Automobile Club of America hosts its annual summer launch event at the 28th Division Sanctuary Grounds. The event features many classic pre-war to modern cars. $5 parking on site.
For more information or to register, visit www.pamilmuseum.org/events.
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