Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced that the Museum of American Armor has selected Pratt Brothers as the firm that will break ground on September 30th for a 25,000 square foot facility that will house an extraordinary collection of World War II armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage. The construction effort is being supervised by Blumenfeld Development Group. Cameron Engineering and Gaddis Architects are providing professional support. Gencon Construction Corporation is donating their labor to erect the building.
James Pratt, III, president of Pratt Brothers, stated, “This is far more than just another ground breaking for our company. This is an opportunity to be part of a project that will honor every serviceman and woman who has defended our country. There is not a single family on Long Island who won’t be touched by this unique museum whose exhibits are powerful reminders of valor in the face of conflict.”
County Executive Mangano stated, “With a $1 million gift from Museum of American Armor founder Lawrence Kadish and a recently awarded New York State Economic Development Corporation grant of $1 million we are creating a powerful public-private partnership that will strategically strengthen heritage tourism in Nassau County.”
Mr. Kadish said, “The creation of a new museum is a challenge and an opportunity. We will have the means to connect with literally every family who comes to visit because World War II was a seminal event that not only defined the world we live in today but created a personal legacy for each and every American. We are compelled to examine that experience and invite every American to join us.”
Gencon president Joe Ainoris said his company is donating their labor to erect the steel structure as their way of honoring the men and women who have served our nation. “It is rare for one to be allowed to help create a building that will house vehicles that represent the incredible courage of young Americans asked to defend our freedom.”
The Visitors’ Experience
Visitors will arrive at the park to find a museum complex that is separate and distinct from the nationally respected restoration village. As they approach the museum they will be welcomed by a design that incorporates the colors of our nation’s flag, an armor vehicle that helps define their experience and an operational collection that periodically departs the museum for field operations.
Permanent displays include a Wall of Honor that pays tribute to the men and women from the region who have worn our country’s uniform, exhibits that highlight unique military chapters in our nation’s history and interactive displays that showcase the role of armor in defending our freedoms.
Virtually all of the museum’s operational vehicles will be on public display including the iconic Sherman tank, a Stuart light tank often deployed by the Marines during their WW II Pacific campaigns, a potent 155 mm howitzer, reconnaissance vehicles that acted as armored scouts for American forces, anti-aircraft guns and similar weapons that broke the back of the Axis powers during World War II. Other vehicles range from a classic LaSalle staff car in the markings of a Fleet Admiral to jeeps, weapons carriers and half-tracks.
Special operational weekends are planned, during which World War II living historians will mount joint operations with the armor and take to the fields of Old Bethpage Village Restoration to demonstrate how these weapons were deployed. At other times, the armor will be displayed on the ramp at the American Airpower Museum or at parades and special events throughout the bi-county area.
In addition, tributes will be created to the American servicemen and women who have served in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Afghanistan and the War on Terror so that the museum is able to fulfill its mission of honoring America's defense of freedom throughout the decades.