Last Sunday, the National Museum of Patriotism reopened in downtown Atlanta, more than a year after it closed down its first location on Spring Street in Midtown. The new location is across the street from Centennial Olympic Park.
The museum sets itself apart by focusing on patriotism, as opposed to displaying exhibits that simply retell history. The displays are more examples of how other people express patriotism. It is the brainchild of retired UPS executive Nick Snider who, several years ago, was worried that Americans were slowly losing their sense of patriotism. So, he put up $2 million of his own money and pooled this with money provided by other private donors partial to his cause as well as companies that included Bank of America, Bellsouth, Comcast, Georgia Power and UPS and founded the National Museum of Patriotism. Its first exhibit was Sinder’s personal collection – called wartime “sweetheart” jewelry, it was composed of symbolic jewelry such as pins, earrings and lockets sent to soldiers by their girlfriends or wives during the Second World War and later.
With patriotism as the focal point, it is only fitting that an exhibit dedicated to the Navy SEALs and other Special Operations teams and organizations exists in the museum. Entitled “Covert Patriotism”, the exhibit is currently under construction, and while there was no date announced on when this will be completed, it is expected to showcase the different acts and symbols of heroism and patriotism exhibited by these extraordinary individuals.
Another exhibit that is currently being constructed is “One America”, which will showcase artifacts from the 9/11 attacks. A portion of this exhibit can already be viewed as of the museum’s reopening.
Visitors are greeted by a sculpture that shows famous symbols of America – Mount Rushmore, the Flag of Iwo Jima and the American eagle. Other exhibits include “The Immigrant Experience”, where old bricks from Ellis Island that early immigrants first walked on may be touched. The “Hall of Patriots”, which originally featured the likes of Helen Keller, former President Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks, has now been expanded and includes the recipients of the Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom – recognition that has been accorded to a number of Navy SEALs.