A museum dedicated to the school’s namesake will be unveiled along with a display of letters and relics concerning the 50th U.S. Secretary of State.
When architects began planning renovations two years ago, it was principal Jay Pearson’s idea to ask if a museum could be included in the renovation plans.
The school already had a display, Pearson said, so “why don’t we kick it up a notch and add a museum?”
The idea was inspired by a box of letters Pearson discovered while he was assistant principal, which “were written from the school to many of George C. Marshall’s contemporaries.”
The letters were written by the first principal, who had attempted to invite those people to the school’s dedication ceremony.
Once Pearson decided that he wanted a museum, the school began to work alongside the George C. Marshall Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the leader, that has a museum in Lexington, VA.
When the foundation’s archivist examined the artifacts, “she was amazed at some of the things that we had,” Pearson said. “Some of them are quite valuable.”
The letters that will be going on display show correspondence with powerful world leaders, such as former President Harry Truman, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, former decorated Army General Omar Bradley and Elizabeth Carter Coles — better known as Mrs. Marshall.
Senior Blaga Atanassova believed that the museum would boost Marshall’s acclaim.
“People need to know more about him,” she said. “He has done so many amazing things for his country and a lot of people still do not know who he is.”
Not only would the Marshall museum increase student awareness of Marshall, but Pearson said that he hoped the museum’s construction would “start to get students interested in museum studies.”
Pearson added that he hoped to display other historically significant artifacts, Marshall-related or not, because it would be valuable for students to have the opportunity to do “hands-on history.”
In freshman Abbey Roberts’ opinion, the addition of the museum would make people more interested in learning about Marshall and what he meant to the country.
According to Pearson, the museum will provide a way for the school and the students to “continue to honor our school’s namesake.”
Marshall “was, in many ways, unassuming or humble about his contributions to his country,” Pearson added. “He did so much, yet he’s not a name that I think people really understand everything that he did.”
The George C. Marshall Museum is expected to be accessible to all by October 2012 and located in a corner around Door 12 and the auditorium.