It takes time to turn a dream into reality. Here’s a look at the years of planning and work leading up to the grand opening of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park on Friday:
October 1998: National Infantry Foundation incorporated; market analysis and feasibility study conducted.
May 1999: Offering the advice to “think big,” the Bradley-Turner Foundation made the first commitment of $2 million. Frank Lumpkin Jr. followed with another $2 million commitment.
October 2000: Memorandum of Agreement signed with National Infantry Foundation, Fort Benning and Center of Military History, authorizing project to move forward.
Late 2000: Site between South Lumpkin Road and Benning Boulevard selected.
February 2001: Hired Lord Cultural Resources to develop the Master Plan.
Summer 2002: Opened an office and began hiring staff. Began fundraising.
February 2003: Hired Alexander Haas Martin & Partners for fundraising assistance.
Spring 2003: Began stabilizing and abating old World War II buildings; continued site studies.
August 2003: Print collateral started with production of Honor-Valor-Sacrifice; project video produced.
September 2003: Awarded $8.5 million grant by Congress.
December 2003: Hired Newton Aaron and Associates to serve as Project Manager; retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf signed on to help with national fundraising.
March 2004: Began issuing requests for proposal for lead architect. E. Verner Johnson and Associates was selected. Hecht Burdeshaw selected to be local architect.
July 2004: Began issuing requests for proposal for exhibit design team. Christopher Chadbourne & Associates selected.
September 2004: Groundbreaking ceremony for Patriot Park and World War II Street.
February 2005: Moved WWII Street buildings from Fort Benning to museum site.
October 2005: Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey signs on to lead D.C. capital campaign effort.
December 2005: Retired Gen. Al Haig joins national campaign.
June 2006: Batson-Cook hired as construction management team. Ground “shaking” held for museum building.
September 2006: First military memorial service held in chapel on WWII Street.
November 2006: Site clearing began.
January 2007: Building construction began.
April 2007: $5 million received from federal government to begin work on parade field; first steel laid in museum building.
June 2007: Bradley Fighting Vehicle placed on museum’s ramp.
September 2007: Batson-Cook Topping Off ceremony; hired Design Craftsmen to do exhibit fabrication.
May 2008: Commemorative paver program launched.
Fall 2008: Staff expanded.
March 19, 2009: Sacred Soil ceremony and dedication of the parade field; first graduation. Portion of museum building open to public.
June 19, 2009: Museum’s Grand Opening celebration.
Source: National Infantry Museum