All pieces belong to and are personally owned by Gary. There are no pieces on loan. He has placed every piece on display with his own hands and does all the dusting and cleaning. His wife Carol has done the cataloging and the typing of labels.
The oldest item on display is the conquistador stirrup that was found in Arizona. It has been authenticated by the University of Arizona.
On display is a 34 star flag that flew during the Civil War. The stars were painted on using gold paint. It is the oldest American flag on display in our county (McLean).
The most unusual and rarest item is the German straw boots. They were probably made of rye or barley straw. The German foot soldiers wore them when they were standing guard duty on the Russian front during the winters in WWII. They have about a 2-3 inch sole and they would slip their combat boots into the straw boots. The straw was an insulation against the frozen ground. The boots came from an American WWII veteran in Bloomington. He brought them home, put them on the top shelf of his closet, and they stayed there until his death. His wife donated them to the museum.
There are displays from the Civil War; the Spanish American War; WWI; WWII which includes displays of German, Japanese, British, and American military items with a few items from other countries; the Korean War; the Viet Nam War; the Cold War; and Desert Storm up to the present.
There is a display of womens’ items/uniforms from WWII.
There is also a POW display. Most of the items were given to the museum by a former POW from Clinton, Illinois. He was a pilot and was held in a German POW camp.
The “uniform room” has over 300 uniforms. There are over 1300 shoulder patches around the top of the walls. There is a large reference library.