Chattanooga Medal of Honour Centre begins construction
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Chattanooga Medal of Honour Centre begins construction

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A new 19,000sq ft (1,765sq m), US$6m (€5.2m, £4.7m) home for an attraction that honours the 3,522 recipients of America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honour, is now under construction in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The new Charles H Coolidge Medal of Honour Heritage Centre will especially celebrate the 32 Tennesseans that have received the award, as the current one does, and is slated to open in Q2 2020 in what was the visitor centre in the city’s Aquarium Plaza.

The current version is a 900sq ft (83sq m) area inside the Northgate Mall shopping centre and showcases medals with biographies, as well as artefacts from the 32 Tennesseans. The new, larger space will also hold 14 permanent exhibitions, as well as other paraphernalia to do with the Medal of Honour.

The two main men behind the centre’s move – Bill Raines, chair of the Heritage Centre, and Keith Hardison, a 35-year museum professional – believe it will see Chattanooga’s attraction become a nationally recognised location for the honouring of the prestigious award.

Raines, said of the move: "We are now going to be able to honour the valour of medal recipients, teach about their character and appreciate how this hard work is going to pay big dividends for our community."

The idea to move was first mooted in 2017, however, the process saw some roadblocks appear in its way and it wasn’t fully announced as confirmed until Q3 of 2019.

"We launched our capital campaign with an aggressive timeline that many people thought was not possible," said Raines. "Yet, our veteran community and the philanthropic spirit of Chattanooga have come together to meet this challenge four months ahead of schedule."

The centre has raised just over US$5m (€4.4m, £3.9m) for construction and has a US$1m (€872,900, £778,860) endowment built into its business plan, designed as a contingency for operations for future exhibit upgrades.

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A new 19,000sq ft (1,765sq m), $6m (€5.2m, £4.7m) home for an attraction that honours the 3,522 recipients of America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honour, is now under construction in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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