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Sat, May 18

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Laishley Park Pavilion (Meeting Place)

May Drive: Punta Gorda Military Heritage Museum

A lovely drive through Punta Gorda as we stop at the Military Heritage Museum then meet for Lunch at the historic Ice House Pub

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May Drive: Punta Gorda Military Heritage Museum
May Drive: Punta Gorda Military Heritage Museum

Time & Location

May 18, 2024, 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Laishley Park Pavilion (Meeting Place), 150 Laishley Ct, Punta Gorda, FL 33950, USA

Guests

About the event

Join us for a short drive through Punta Gorda before visiting the incredible collection of the Punta Gorda Military Heritage Museum and Military Flight Simmulators. Immediately following our morning at the museum, we will meet for lunch at the historic Ice House Pub.

9:30am - Meet in Punta Gorda at Laishley park Pavilion (150 Laishley Ct, Punta Gorda, FL 33950)

10:00am - Leave for short drive through Punta Gorda Isles and Downtown Punta Gorda

10:30am - Arrive at Military Heritage Museum

Please be sure to RSVP as the Museum needs final numbers 1 week prior to our arrival.

About the Museum:

The Military Heritage Museum first opened its doors to the public in Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda, Fla., on Pearl Harbor Day 2001. The goal of the Museum — then as now — was to honor veterans from all branches and eras of U.S. military service and to help the general public better understand the contributions and various experiences of American servicemen and women through authentic artifacts and individual stories.

From the start, individual veterans and numerous veteran groups enthusiastically supported the Museum. They generously donated their own personal artifacts and funding; helped build display cases, paint walls and lay carpet; and volunteered as docents.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr., the famed pilot of the “Enola Gay,” the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, agreed to serve as the Museum’s initial honorary chairman, a position he held until his death in 2007. At that point, Sean O’Keefe, a former Secretary of the Navy and former NASA Administrator, took over the role and continues to serve to this day.

Within six years of its grand opening, the Museum had grown significantly in artifacts, financial support, popularity within the community and annual number of visitors, who now hailed from all 50 states and other countries. This led to a move in 2007 to a larger space within Fishermen’s Village that could accommodate the growth. This marked the Museum’s first significant transformation into a more professionally managed museum.

In 2013, the Museum expanded again, this time adding space on the second floor above the exhibit area to provide a conference center (available for rent), a military research library, administrative offices and storage.

As the Military Heritage Museum continued to grow in popularity, it gained a reputation among tourists and the local community as Southwest Florida’s most treasured museum, in large part because of its personal touch. Veterans lead all tours and offer visitors a unique perspective and understanding of key moments in history that cannot be obtained from a textbook.

As of November 2018, the Museum obtained a lease on a new, larger facility in expectation of delivering on the next stage of its vision: the ability to showcase more of its authentic, one-of-a-kind artifact collection and enhance its exhibits and docent-led tours with the latest in video displays, interactive capabilities and touchscreen technologies.

Our new facility opened on April 16, 2019. The goal, however, remains the same: to honor America’s military veterans, to educate and inspire current and future generations of Americans and to remind everyone that “Freedom Isn’t Free.”

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