Museum adds interactive exhibit in salute to World War II veterans

SEWARD, Neb. (WOWT) -- An hour outside of Omaha lies Seward, Nebraska - home of the Nebraska National Guard Museum and an addition is in progress.

In a 6 on Your Side exclusive, we have a look at an interactive exhibit honoring World War II veterans.

Ellen Jirovsky, the daughter of Bronze Star recipient, said, “I think he would cry. He would get tears in his eyes. He would be so grateful that there is something like this to show. And to remember."

Ellen’s father received the Bronze Star for his service in World War II.

“He received it for getting those two armored trucks out of the way.”

Growing up, Jirovsky's father didn't talk about the war so coming to the Nebraska National Guard Museum and seeing some of what he went through, “It’s overwhelming. And again, that deep amazement."

Those sentiments are mirrored in Dr. Van Vahle who sits on the museum’s board.

“If we can help any of these people learn about this, it's worth the time," he said.

And money - $236,000 to be exact. But the price doesn't matter compared to honoring the service members.

The exhibit’s designer, Doug Hartman, is a 21-year veteran of the National Guard. His interactive design comes from a painting.

“We have designed a hedgerow exhibit, three dimensional. So the idea is you will actually walk through a three dimensional painting."

Historically, hedgerows were made from dirt, rocks and tree debris. The interactive exhibit is fitted with real dirt.

Once museum guests make their way through the hedgerow the soldiers had to fight their way through in World War II, they'll get a chance to look at the painting that inspired this exhibit.

Hartman's ties to this exhibit don't end with his own service. He had the chance to meet with soldiers who fought in this battle 25 years ago.

“I got to know a lot of the gentlemen who shed their blood for my freedom. So that makes this personal."

Construction will be finished by the end of June and the exhibit will open to the public on the 4th of July. The small museum expects to see upwards of 10,000 guests in just the first day.