The St. Charles County Veterans Museum began when one Veteran said “I wish I was 20 years younger because I wish we had a museum devoted to our Veterans”. That Veteran, Ralph Barrale Sr. accomplished so much for all Veterans each and every day of his life. We have him to thank for the Veterans Memorial Parkway which runs along Interstate 70 from the Missouri River west across St. Charles County. Many of us use this daily, and are reminded each time not only of Ralph, but our Veterans, which is what Ralph would have wanted. Ralph inspired a whole team of people, to work on that dream of a Veterans Museum. And even though we have lost our fearless leader, his dream remains stronger than ever, and this team works daily on making that dream come true!
His first goal was to find a home for the St. Charles County Veterans Museum. That was accomplished in April of 2018 when Mayor Bill Hennessy and the O’Fallon City Council approved a lease
of the former City Annex when the new Krekel Civic Center was opened at the end of September. The Museum Team moved into our building at 410 East Elm Street in O’Fallon at the beginning of November of 2018. Months of planning had already begun, collection of donations for the exhibits, and meetings, meetings, and more meetings had already occurred by that time. The St. Charles County Veterans Museum “Team” moved in and the work began instantaneously! There isn’t a day that goes by that someone is not doing something! And we are ALL volunteers!!! There is no paid staff, each contributes what they can of their talents and ability to give.
Some are able to donate time to make the physical changes necessary to make the building a “museum”. Some have donated time to collect the artifacts or memorabilia, catalog them, and are creating the Galleries exhibits and creating the videos for the Veterans Theater. Some are working on the exterior of the building, creating a landscape complete with Veterans Healing Gardens, a Heroes Walk, and the Grove which will be used as an outdoor educational area. Some are out there meeting with potential sponsors, businesses, corporations, and civic groups explaining who we are. Some have taken on the hard work of putting together all the necessary components for our operations from Security systems, phone and internet, and signage. There is no job too small or too large because we work as a team!
This is where YOU come in! We need YOU on our St. Charles County Veterans Museum team! We are Veterans and patriots, construction workers and salesmen, City Alderwomen and retired seniors, young and old. What we all have in common is a dream. A dream to build a museum that inspires honor for our Veterans. That informs what it means to be a Veteran. And that engages the world and the residents of St. Charles County with a museum that says WOW!
Our first Gallery will open with its’ first exhibit titled “Freedom isn’t Free“ the story of World War II. Ralph Barrale fought in WWII, and it was that experience that made him the Veteran that he was. We will share his and at least twelve other men and women, Veterans from St. Charles County and their stories, because we believe every Veteran has a story. We are always looking for more who would like to contribute a little bit to the thousands of stories of St. Charles Veterans. The St. Charles County Veterans Museum takes hard work, time and a great team. We are dedicated to making this happen, and we will open in a few short months in the spring of 2019.
If you would like to learn more about our museum, see how you can sponsor or donate, or be part of this great team we ask you to please fill out the box below and we will get back to you. You can also email us at info@StCharlesCountyVeteransMuseum.com or call/text at 636-400-7698. Let us know if you would like to talk or tour the museum. We would love to visit with Corporations, Civic Groups and Businesses as well who want to be part of our Team!