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Military Artifacts Return to ADA Museum

FORT SILL Okla_ Fort Sill's Air Defense Artillery Museum is finished with renovations and Tuesday, pieces of history started making their move back home to their permanent location.

The museum installed heating and air conditioning units earlier in the year. Not only will it keep visitors more comfortable year-round, the controlled climate helps aged artifacts avoid deterioration.  Military equipment was moved back to their permanent location Tuesday by trucks and tanks, and even a few operated on their own. Several personnel on the post were even able to operate the combat units from yesteryear during the move.

The scene was pretty loud Tuesday as several pieces of that military machinery shipped out of their temporary hangar. Several pieces of war regalia and evidence of combat action from decades ago were also in tow. It was a special time for everyone involved in the project, from moving the equipment to making the museum a new and updated home for history.

"I've been in the army for 21 years, and some of this stuff I've never seen,"

Tanks, guns, trucks and even rare spotlights make up the arsenal of one of-a-kind artifacts that the US Army Air Defense Artillery Museum at Fort Sill calls its own. The museum holds items that can't be seen anywhere else. So, it was a no-brainer for curator Jonathan Bernstein and other organizers to install heating and air conditioning units in the facility.

"It enables us to better preserve things," Bernstein said. "I've seen some really amazing paper artifacts, things that came out of Japanese prison camps in WWII, things that came out of Vietnam, things that came out Korea, just unique pieces. "Keeping those items in a stable environment will ensure they're around for a significantly longer period of time."

All of the military equipment has called this hangar home for the past seven months, but moving day is now underway. Before it's all said and done, the museum will be full of history and heritage once again.

"The whole thing is a real neat environment for us. It's not something we normally do on a daily basis, because of course, we're training for the future not the past," Master Sergeant Donald Beets said.

He said these pieces of history give priceless experience into military life for veterans that preceded them.

"Now, I can talk to our veterans at the local establishments and say, 'Hey what did you used to work on?' and say, 'Hey I saw that the other day, and we got to mess with it' and see what it was like and talk to them. We'd be able to have a better conversation with them," Beets said.

Bernstein is happy that the museum will finally have stability once the move is over.

"This will allow us to really do some great exhibits," Bernstein said. "It gives us an opportunity to not really set roots but makes things more permanent. We've really been in a transient state since everything came out here in 2010. We're getting there, and it's really one more step forward."

Bernstein said an even more permanent location for the museum is about 3-5 years away. It will be located near the Field Artillery Museum on post and will also serve as a training facility.

Directors hope to have the museum in full operation by October 1st. The facility will be open five days a week and admission is free and open to the public.

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