A Mount Aloysius College student is doing his part to help preserve and share local history. Alexander Minnick, a junior history/political science major from the St. Marys area, has spent the past four years volunteering at the Eldred WWII Museum.
Built to memorialize a local munitions plant that produced high-explosives, thermite, and smoke grenades for the British troops, the museum houses many artifacts focusing on the American involvement leading up to and during the Second World War. Spanning three floors, the museum houses stories from over 400 veterans, interactive dioramas, and a detailed research library. Exhibits touch on everything from the invasion of Poland to the submarine war in the Pacific.
“Everything in the museum except for one British Bren gun is donated,” Minnick said. “My favorite artifacts are a set of dress whites owned and worn by Colonel Mitchell Paige, USMC (Retired), and his original Medal of Honor he received for his actions of Guadalcanal.”
Minnick became interested in the museum during his senior year of high school while doing research for a paper. After speaking with the museum’s curator, SFC. Steven J. Appleby, U.S. Army (Retired), Minnick became very interested in the work the museum did, both for the local community and preserving the memory of the Second World War.
“I volunteer whenever I can, usually during the summer weekends and during school breaks,” Minnick said. “My work has consisted of giving tours, gathering information on different artifacts, and taking inventory.”
When Minnick graduates, he will join the staff at the Eldred WWII Museum as the museum’s director, and he plans to continue his education to receive a master’s degree in Second World War Studies through a partnership with the University of Phoenix Online and the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans.
Of his plans after that, Minnick says: “I’d like to work my way up to become the Museum Director of the National World War Two Museum.”