Pritzker Military Archives Center hosted its preview event in Somers, Wisconsin
Special guests and members of the media were invited to a Sept. 13 preview event of Chicago's Pritzker Military Museum & Library's state-of-the-art facility, Pritzker Military Archives Center, in Somers, Wisconsin.
The Pritzker Military Archives Center was designed by Jahn, an award-winning, internationally recognized architectural firm, and was the last architectural gem designed by Helmut Jahn.
Guests of the event included Somers and City of Kenosha officials, staff of the PMAC's construction teams, Riley Construction and Pepper Construction, academia from Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Architecture & Urban Planning, Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, amongst many media individuals.
The 51,800-square-foot research and military artifact preservation center was created to fulfill the need for additional space to house the archival collections of the museum and library in Chicago.
The collection includes over 74,115 books and 40,000 artifacts with materials spanning from hundreds of years of military history.
The center, one of only a few in the nation to house military archives, also includes a 9,400-square-foot gallery that will allow the community to immerse themselves in history. Once open in early 2024, members of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and researchers can access items in the collection by making a reference inquiry and setting an appointment for viewing.
Roberto Bravo, interim president of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, kicked off the event by welcoming attendees and introducing a 3-minute featured video explaining why and how the Pritzker Military Archives Center was made.
"The PMAC is a living building where stories of the past come to life through preservation and meticulously restored artifacts and collections," Bravo said.
Guests were introduced to Evan Jahn, president of Jahn, and Philip Castillo, Jahn managing director, for an exclusive opportunity to view images of the PMAC from a raw sketch by Helmut Jahn to several angles of the finished Center. Castillo also shared the process of designing the PMAC from start to finish.
Following the tribute to Jahn, guests were escorted to the lower level of the Pritzker Military Archives Center to see the inner workings of the preservation level and learn how rare books and collections are stored. Following the tour, guests received a 15-minute viewing of the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin's, "Drawn to Combat: Bill Mauldin & the Art of War," exhibit and book collections that are parallel to the Mauldin exhibit.
"We are expanding and updating our digital lab with new scanning equipment that will allow us to digitize more of the collection than ever before," said Dustin DePue, Pritzker Military Museum & Library Director of Museum Collections. "With this technology in use, we will be able to bridge the availability gap between that which is public and what we have in storage."
The event concluded with a fireside chat session featuring the Pritzker Military Museum & Library's founder, Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired,) which was moderated by MG (Ret) US Army Brain Winski. She discussed the vision for the PMAC and how it serves as an extension of the PMML's mission to educate the public's understanding of military history, military affairs and national security by providing a forum for the study and exploration of our military.
"This state-of-the-art research center will greatly expand our ability to preserve and restore important historical materials; all of which tie our nation's past and present to its future," Col. Pritzker said during her speech. "This building will extend the PMML's ability to educate and inform; and provide a place where both citizens -soldiers can learn about each other and their important roles in our democracy."
Please visit the website to learn more about the Pritzker Military Archives Center.
About Pritzker Military Archives Center
Located in Somers, Wisconsin, the Pritzker Military Archives Center supports the Pritzker Military Museum & Library's mission of preserving the past, present, and future of citizens and soldiers. This project has various components, the first being the Pritzker Archives Center, a state-of-the-art archive space to restore, preserve, and provide storage for the Pritzker Military Museum & Library's collections, which include books, artifacts, and other historical materials. Other components of the project include a Commercial Archives Center, the Cold War Veterans Memorial, and community green space. To learn more, visit www.pritzkermilitary.org/visit/pritzker-military-archives-center.