Inside The Veterans Memorial Museum
The Veterans Memorial Museum in Branson, Missouri is a national tribute to the brave men and women who defended our liberties during the 20th Century. A visit to the museum is a powerful, emotional experience.
As you wander the great halls of the museum you'll be captivated by the stories of these men and women who gave us so much. The museum is filled with the most incredible collection of wartime exhibits covering the heights and depths of human experience.
For those who lived through these wars the memories brought back are vivid and overwhelming. For those that viewed the 20th Century wars through the prism of history, the museum is awe-inspiring.
You'll be fascinated and thoroughly humbled by this memorial to our veterans. The vast array of exhibits causes reflection and creates an intense curiosity about the personal experiences of the men and women who lived in these uniforms, fired these weapons, lived as a POW, wrote these letters home, wore these medals, played this battlefield organ, flew the planes, rode the motorcycles, and served our country so well.
The Veterans Memorial Museum is composed of ten great halls covering the wars and conflicts fought during the 20th Century. Circulation and viewing starts in the World War I Hall, progressing through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and more.
Each hall features dramatic and thought provoking exhibits. Sculpture, murals, historical artifacts, objects d' art, and thousands of authentic memorabilia honor all branches of the service, major battlefronts, campaigns, industrial defense, and more.
The names of the men and women killed in action in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and recent conflicts of the 20th Century are displayed on the walls of the halls.
Fred Hoppe, internationally renown bronze sculptor, researched and traveled the world collecting over 2000 exhibits to be displayed in this 18,000 sq. ft. museum. Many of the exhibits have been compiled with the help of veterans and their families and include these veterans' personal stories. From the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of the Persian Gulf, from the memories of decorated combat veterans to the men and women who served on the home front, every aspect of our nations' valiant fight for freedom has been honored.
The world's largest war memorial bronze sculpture (over 70 feet long, weighing 15-tons) is the hallmark of the museum and features 50 life-size statues storming a beach. The life-size figures were modeled after a combat soldier from each of the 50 states. The statue is surrounded by the names of those killed in action during WWII. Click here for more information on the Veterans Memorial Sculpture.
Along with multitudes of bronze sculptures, special murals are featured in the Museum, including the recent addition of the Tuskegee Airmen Painting, "Red-Tails Strike Again" by artist Mike Hagel.
Fred's vision in creating the museum was enhanced by his desire to perpetuate and honor the memory of the men and women and their descendants who were and are forever and profoundly affected by these conflicts. The museum is designed to serve as an educational center and artistic memorial, enduring for centuries to come, educating generations about these global clashes that defeated totalitarianism.Click here for more information on Fred Hoppe
Put the Veterans Memorial Museum on your list of must-see sites when visiting Branson ... and give yourself plenty of time to take a national journey through our history and our freedoms.
The vision of a rural Nebraska man, Fred Hoppe, has created what the Veterans Task Force calls one of the "greatest tributes ever completed to honor our country's veterans!"
Fred Hoppe was inspired by the stories and sacrifices he heard about from his father (Fred Sr.) and the men that fought alongside his father during some of World War II's bloodiest battles. Fred Hoppe Sr., is honored with a mural and a special exhibit in the museum depicting his heroic rescue of a wounded fellow soldier. .
Along with designing, funding, and building the Veterans Memorial Museum in Branson, Missouri, Fred Hoppe also collected and then wrote the scripts for over 2000 rare military artifacts he donated for use to the museum. After spending four years trying to raise money for a memorial to honor the veterans of the 20th Century and with over 36 foundations turning him down, Fred says, "It became apparent that I would have to take things into my own hands. The experts kept telling me that it would take six years to complete a project of Veterans Memorial Museum magnitude, however with our veterans dying at a rate of over one thousand per day, I was driven to finish this project quickly."
Fred worked 18-hour days, seven days a week, living up to his pledge to complete the project in just 10 months. The museum officially opened on November 11, 2000.
Designing and participating in the construction of the building, Hoppe even cut up 70 tons of logs in a homemade sawmill in his backyard to provide siding and lumber for the Veterans Memorial Museum's 18,000 square feet building. "Along with saving money, this allowed me to personally make sure that every aspect of the building reflected the quality our veterans deserve," said Hoppe.
After researching and interviewing veterans for over 25 years, Hoppe personally wrote the scripts for each of the displays. Arranging with combat artist James Dietz, Mike Hagel, and others to create dozens of combat murals, Hoppe has painstakingly detailed the history of our nations valiant fight for our liberties during the 20th Century.
The hallmark of the Veterans Memorial Museum is a stunning 70-foot long bronze sculpture consisting of 50 life-size soldiers running up a beach. A combat soldier from each of the 50 states was used as models for the life-size figures. Fred Hoppe Sr. is also the model for the lead soldier in the world's largest war memorial bronze sculpture
Hoppe, an internationally known sculptor, created this amazing memorial bronze while building the museum; collecting the exhibits; arranging financing, management and marketing of the museum; and supervising every other detail of this incredible vision. Hoppe said, "Our Veterans deserve the very best tribute we can give them and the ideal location for this museum was in Branson, Missouri where veterans are honored every day and patriotism is still celebrated."
The exhibits in the museum cover WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and all other recent conflicts during the 20th Century. The center great hall of the museum contains the 50-statue sculpture and the wall surrounding it list over 400,000 names of the men and women killed in action during WWII. Throughout the museum the walls of each great hall contain the names of those killed in action during Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and other conflicts of the 20th Century.
Hoppe states, "Along with the Veterans Memorial Museum being an artistic memorial to our veterans, we want to evoke from our visitors an emotional response to the far reaching implications of war and the undeniable courage of those who stood strong in the face of the enemy. Above all, this memorial is a gesture of thanks to all who died to defend these freedoms we enjoy today."