CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The National Stars and Stripes Museum held their grand reopening event on Saturday.
They brought in more than 200 people to the event where they were able to view the newly renovated museum, vintage military vehicles, demonstrations, vendors and more.
"It's so nice to be back open," National Stars and Stripes Museum Administrator Laura Dumey said. "We've been close since mid-March and in the beginning, it was for COVID, but we took advantage of it and re-did the whole museum. So everyone of our exhibits have been touched.
The exhibits in the museum reflect times of the Civil War through present day conflicts.
In addition, the museum now has three World War II and Korean War vintage military vehicles for display.
"You may see a few small things of what used to be there but everything is different," Stars and Stripes Museum Assistant Curator Travis Smith said. "It's more of a timeline now. I feel the flow is better. You go from the start of our newspaper in 1861 to modern. You walk through the decades is what we're trying to do."
The National Stars and Stripes Museum Curator Morgan Wilkinson said she wanted to make sure there were exhibits for kids to learn and interact with as well.
"It's really hard to get kids to like history if they can't touch it," Wilkinson said. "A lot of museums, it's don't touch this, don't touch that. Well, if you're going to get kids involved in a subject matter that they might not be interested in otherwise, they have to be able to touch things. You have to trigger those senses in a way that normal museums don't."
National Stars and Stripes Museum Collections Manager Kayla Hester said she sees a lot of items that come into the museum that are worth displaying. She also helps people find relatives in old newspapers as well.
"Part of the best feeling that I come across is seeing the joy on somebody's face whenever they see a family member or something mentioned in it," Hester said. "It's just the pure happiness on them is what really makes it."
The first Stars and Stripes newspaper was printed in Bloomfield, Mo, on November 9, 1861.
"The Stars and Stripes is really a military newspaper, Dumey said. "So it's for those that are serving mostly overseas. A lot of people here in the states haven't seen it. We celebrate the commitment for the Stars and Stripers that printed and worked for the newspaper of our military and of our citizens. That's what we're here for."
Admission is free for visitors, but donations are welcome. The museum is open all week with the exception of Sunday and Tuesdays.