ROSWELL, Ga. – Just in time for Veterans Day, the Chrysalis Experiential Academy in Roswell opened its own Veterans Museum.
Photographs, stories and artifacts from veterans line the walls of a classroom converted into a museum. Display cases hold valued medals and knick-knacks from numerous wars. And it was all gathered by students.
The museum was started as a student project that would honor veterans by collecting stories of veterans’ service. It soon changed as many more stories came in than they anticipated.
“Like everything else here, it turned out to be more than just a project,” said Richard Becker, director of Chrysalis Experiential Academy. “In this day and age, if you ask a kid what is Veterans Day, they don’t have a clue.”
He said students see it as a day off from school rather than a day to remember not just veterans, but also family members who have taken up arms.
The project was to get students talking to their families about their service.
Begun by students Shields Mooney and Teddy Gathmann, it has taken on a life of its own.
“Shields is our seventh-grade museum director,” said Gathmann. “He frames and hangs everything. This goes a lot more than World War II and Vietnam. We go all the way back to the Revolutionary War.”
A World War I artillery shell now sits as a converted lamp. A WWI gas mask sits on a shelf. Postcards and documents of service and platoon pictures line the walls, along with maps and portraits – and many of the people in them are related to a student in the school. Each student spoke with their families to gather the material and stories of wartime relatives.
A sheaf of printed Confederate money sits in one box. These bills have the distinction of being among the last currency printed for the Confederates before the end of the Civil War, on the exact date of March 20, 1865.
The printers never received payment for the bills.
Becker said the museum is open to the public and accepts donations of items from the veteran community.
“It’s going to keep evolving,” Becker said. “We’re not going to stop.”
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Dec. 18. Chrysalis Experiential Academy is located at 10 Mansell Court East, No. 500, Roswell. Call them at 770-649-7077.