Women in Service exhibit on display at the Miami Valley Veterans Museum; Exhibit to change at the end of April

By Jordan Green

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MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami Valley Veteran’s Museum’s Women in Service exhibit is open until the end of April.

The exhibit, originally chosen for Women’s History Month in March, features 34 biographies of women who have served vital roles in the U.S. Military. These histories with accompanying photos were provided by Dr. Vivian Blevins, an educator at Edison State Community College and member of the Edison Foundation.

In addition to the personal histories, the exhibit features a collection of uniforms dating back over 100 years from the World Wars to the modern era. One such collection of uniforms belonged to Master Sergeant Kathy Klein who served in the Air Force for 30 years.

“Community reception has been very favorable,” said John Bankowitz, the new museum curator. “We receive daily comments regarding our woman’s exhibit.”

Bankowitz helped put this exhibit together along with former curator Karen Purke, who retired in late March after 10 years at the museum.

Bankowitz served seven years in the Marine Corps followed by 37 years at the Department of Air Force. From 2010-2020, he taught the JROTC program at Wayne High School in Huber Heights. He has been collecting and researching military history for 50 years and has donated over half of his collection to the Museum.

At the end of April, the Women in Service exhibit will come down as the museum looks to expand its footprint. Plans include expanding the library space and gift shop, as well as a new exhibit that features a World War II Higgins Boat (a landing craft that carried up to 36 troops) and a newly donated 1920’s Model T Ford.

In the meantime, the museum offers social events in addition to its exhibits. The first Wednesday of every month is the Miami Valley Veteran’s Monthly Coffees from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The next monthly coffee is Wednesday, May 4. Every Saturday, they offer public bingo from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Miami Valley Veteran’s Museum is located at 2245 S Co. Rd 25A, Troy. For more information, visit their website at: www.miamivalleyveteransmuseum.org.