Museum of Black World War II History is hoping to make Stamford its new home in the near future, bring to the city a preserved piece of culture that advocates hope will have a greater impact than in its current location in Vermont.The
"There's a lot more people here," said museum founder and curator Bruce Bird. "There's only 3,200 black people in the whole state, in Vermont. I think moving it to Stamford will bring it more appreciation, and it's right on the route to New York City. Right now the museum is tucked away in a small, predominantly white state."
On Monday, Bird was joined by museum president Mabel Jorgensen at the Stamford Government Center to raise awareness about the planned move. The organization is currently looking to raise about $10,000 to rehab the old recreation center in Stamford at 71 Plymouth Road.
"I met [Bird] after I saw an article in the New York Times and saw him being interviewed on CBS," Jorgensen said. "I was going to Vermont and I said, 'What's he doing with a black museum in Vermont?' So I called him up to see if he wanted a gun from my deceased husband, who had served in the war. Then we got to talking about moving to Stamford. We need more culture here. All we have are churches and restaurants."
Bird's collection includes "multiple truckloads" of memorabilia, guns, munitions, including a 1700-pound shell, and even multiple vehicles, including a jeep, two half-ton trucks and a half-track, which is a truck on the front half with tank treads on the rear half, as the name suggests.
Jorgensen said the plans to move have been in the works since 2010 but they're in the final stages of their relocation fundraising push right now. She said $10,000 is not astronomical and she's confident they'll be able to raise the funds for the move soon. Bird, who started his collection in high school, said the move would be a welcome change.
"The people who came certainly appreciated it, just not enough people came," he said. "We're expecting much better attendance with a move to Stamford, and that's what I want to do. This is my retirement project.
To donate to the non-profit organization, visit this page.