Veterans Memorial Museum impacted financially by the pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the Veterans Memorial Museum closed, volunteers are making the most of their time to renovate the space.

For three decades, the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Downtown Fresno has housed the Veterans Memorial Museum, home of the Legion of Valor.

However, the pandemic has left it closed to visitors for much the past year.

"We have taken advantage of it by completely remodeling some of our displays, but financially its been a bite like everybody else. We've suffered financially for it, but we've curbed every bit of spending we could do," said Bob Specht, Museum Director.

The museum was able to receive a grant from the city of Fresno because of the pandemic.

Museum directors showed us some of the display cases they have worked hard to renovate and create.

Each tells the story of a service member and showcases their uniform and medals.

"It's a treasure trove of American history. It's actually a giant classroom. When our groups come in here, we actually don't teach them about how bullets the machine gun shoots or how big the grenade will explode. We teach people about why America is involved in these global conflicts," said Michael G. Harris, Museum Deputy Director.

Volunteers miss sharing history with school children and adults.

While the museum is free to get in, many visitors made donations to help the non-profit, but that's dried up.

Several major donors have also told the museum they're unable to donate.

"It's hurt, we're trying to keep pace with keeping the place going and when we do get to open, it will be something worth seeing," Harris said.

When it does, protocols will be in place to keep volunteers and the public safe.

While the museum is closed for now, officials are looking forward to one day sharing living history with future generations.
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