A $160 million war museum and research complex that was to have been located in Oklahoma will be built instead at an as-yet-undetermined site in Arizona, officials have announced.
The Institute for the Study of American Wars, a non-profit educational-research group based in Wilmington, Del., announced that Arizona was chosen for its permanent headquarters and the museum complex over sites in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and New Mexico.The announcement was made by John Radell, chairman of the institute's board of directors, in a telephone conversation with Gov. Rose Mofford and reporters.
The museum is to include exhibits dealing with the Vietnam and Korean wars, both world wars, the American Revolution and the Spanish-American and U.S. Civil wars.
The first phase, which will include an institute for the study of the Vietnam and Korean wars and a museum dealing with those two wars, will be completed in five to six years at a cost of about $60 million, Radell said.
The remainder of the complex "could take up to 20 years to complete," he said.
The museum complex is to serve scholarly research as well as tourists. Plans call for construction of eight buildings with both indoor and outdoor displays.
The displays will include exhibits of weaponry and other items from U.S wars and simulators that will allow visitors to experience the feel of flying a jet fighter or a helicopter, Radell said.
The institute estimates the museum will attract 6 million tourists a year and will employ about 500 people. Officials estimated that it would generate $17 million in annual revenues.
Donald Parks of Phoenix, a member of the institute's advisory board, said the project's purpose "is not to dramatize war."
"It's very similar to your law-enforcement agencies that study crime so they can prevent crime," he said. "The primary purpose of the institute is not to dramatize or play war games at all."
The institute so far has raised about $65,000, Radell said. He said an international fund-raising campaign will be launched after the site is selected.
A final decision on the site is expected Monday, July 17.