LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BOISE -- On Wednesday, KTVB focused on the concern over proposed cuts to Boise's Gowen Field. We're now getting positive news from the Idaho Military Museum next door.

The museum recently completed an $800,000 renovation, modernizing both the interior and exterior of the building, adding fire protections, modern lighting, and new floor with designs reminiscent of clouds.

The money for the project was largely donated, with some funding allocated by the Idaho National Guard.

More than 20 volunteers are now in the process of rebuilding dozens of the museum's exhibits. Executive Director Ken Swanson says the goal is to have the facility completely refinished by Saturday June 7, for the grand reopening.

We have exhibits ranging from the Civil War period, to really up to the modern war wear the troops have been in Iraq in Afghanistan, Swanson said.

The museum has been operational for the past 18 years. However, reminders of the Gem State's fighting men and women have been housed in this particular building for the past 11 years.

The 1941 building itself was used as a warehouse and bomber training facility in the hey-day of Gowen Field. Much of the exhibits here date from that era.

Outside, guests can tour a variety of tanks, including an M1 Abrams, self-propelled howitzer, and M60A3.

There's even American and Soviet fighter planes, including an F4 Phantom, MIG21, and F86 Sabre.

Not to mention guns from around the world -- lots and lots of guns. The collection here includes American, Italian, and Russian stationary and handheld machine guns, along with rifles and pistols. More are expected to be added to the display via the new remodel project.

Ken Swanson says the unique collection helps facilitate learning when both military and non-military members visit.

People who have served in the military, bring their families in, bring their children, bring their grandchildren, and say 'Let me tell you about this. I wore one of those, or I used that kind of equipment,' so it's a bridge between generations and a teaching tool too.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2014/07/03/12169459/