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The Harrison County Historical Museum has received a commitment for a major donation from Penny and Steve Carlile. The Carliles’ gift of $100,000 will help the museum complete the military exhibit gallery at Memorial City Hall.
In making the commitment, Mrs. Carlile said, “From the earliest days of our country to the most recent conflicts, men and women of our military have sacrificed so that people like us could enjoy the benefits of freedom.”
“We can never repay the debt of gratitude that we owe these men and women, but we can strive to honor all of them.” Mr. Carlile said.
Titled “Service and Sacrifice: Harrison County at War,” the 1,500 square foot exhibit will use the museum’s collection to tell the stories of Harrison County people who served in the military and the support they received at home from their families and neighbors. The exhibit will span from the Texas Revolution to the Wars on Terror.
“Our museum thanks Steve and Penny for this thoughtful, extraordinary gift,” said Martha Robb. Since 2006 Mrs. Robb has led the museum’s committee assigned the task of raising funds and guiding the development of new exhibits.
Mr. Carlile explained that their appreciation for those who serve and their family’s history of military service led them to the decision to assist the museum: “Penny and I have a deep respect and appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed to defend our country and for those who are serving our country in the military today. Both of our fathers served in World War II, and my maternal grandfather served in the Army in World War I. I also lost an uncle in World War II in the Battle of Okinawa.”
In honor of the donation the military exhibit gallery will be named the “Steve and Penny Carlile Gallery.”
When Marshall’s city commissioners built a new city hall in the 1920s World War I had recently ended. In selecting the name “Memorial City Hall” they dedicated the four-story building to those who served in World War I. A tablet was placed inside the building with the names of those who died in the war. Later, a second tablet was placed in the building listing the names of those who lost their lives in World War II.
Robert Bailey, president of the museum, said, “We believe that with our military exhibit we are lifting up the original purpose of this building as a memorial to those who served and we are so very thankful to Steve and Penny Carlile for supporting us in this effort.”
The museum exhibits will open fall 2017. The City of Marshall is undertaking improvements to the building.
In 2006 the museum’s board of directors adopted a plan to install all new exhibits in the 1901 Harrison County Courthouse and accepted an offer from the City of Marshall to reuse part of Memorial City Hall as an annex. Phase I of the plan was completed in 2013 with the opening of exhibits in the 1901 Courthouse. The opening of the military exhibits in Memorial City Hall will complete the final phase of the plan.