By Kyle Peveto, Staff Writer
After eight years of work on the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, Dr. Vernon Williams, professor of history, stepped down as director of the museum.
John Ferguson, former curator for the Battleship of Texas, was hired this summer to take over as director.
The museum, which Williams began work on in 1994, opened on Oct. 6, 2001.
Many ACU students, recent graduates and community volunteers worked to ready the museum for the October opening. Counting the number of hours put into the project is impossible.
“It took hundreds of thousands of hours; the full eight years,” Williams said.
The museum contains over 4,500 photographs, life sized dioramas and many multimedia exhibits. In the rear of the museum is an M3A1 Half-track Personnel Carrier, a tank-like armored truck. Also, in the lobby is a World War II jeep with three soldiers.
One-third of the museum is devoted to educating students of every age about World War II with computer classrooms, a library and regular classrooms. The classrooms assist in the goal for the museum to be a teaching museum for those entering public history professions.
Objectives of the museum include: expanding access to World War II historical materials, preserving the history of the 12th Armored Division, creating new educational programs for children and establishing a bridge between the museum collection and the rest of the world.
Williams has received the Mary Faye Barnes Award of Excellence for Community History Projects from the Texas Oral History Association and will be presented the award on the 25th by the Taylor County Historical Commission.
The 12th Armored Division was the last group to train at Camp Barkeley during World War II. Entering late in the war, the division is well known for fighting through France and Austria before liberating 11 concentration camps in five days and eventually taking 72,000 German POWs.