TIMELINE OF EFFORTS
The Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum (WVM) has a staff of 13 and receives salary and operations supporting resources from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). Annual funding for WVM from WDVA is approx. $3.5M. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation (WVMF) exists to cover expenses where state funding falls short – new exhibits, acquisitions, special events, and community education. The building is owned by Mr. Greg Rice and managed by Executive Management, Inc. The WVM space is leased by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA).
May 31 – present, the WVM building façade is continually defaced with spray paint. The damage is extensive.
June 2 at 9:50am – WVM Facebook page administered by WDVA staff, posted the following comment:
“Last night the Wisconsin Veterans Museum's outside was tagged with graffiti. One of the tags asked, "Where is our museum?" We hear you, & the answer is, Right Here!"
June 3 at 6:37pm – in response to many veterans offering to help clean up the graffiti, the WVM Facebook page states with total inaccuracy that repairs had already occurred, causing widespread confusion.
June 10 at 8am – Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum sent an open letter to WDVA Secretary Mary Kolar:
“As military veterans we risked our lives to guarantee the very Constitutional rights that are being exercised each day on the capital square in Madison & elsewhere across the United States. In our experience, times of great turbulence require clear actions of leaders. For this reason, we ask that you join us at the Wisconsin Veteran's Museum on June 11, 2020 at 1500 to address an assembly of Wisconsin veterans that wish to help repair the recent damage. Whenever there is a need, you can count on our continued service & skills to safeguard our society’s most sacred landmarks & institutions. Upholding the highest traditions of the United States military is a lifelong endeavor. Please unite with us as we carry out this mission.”
Meeting held at WVM to assess damage with masonry restoration professionals and to develop possible solutions. Secretary Kolar addressed Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum.
Secretary Kolar issues press release regarding the WVM damage, saying in part, “the WVM, like other businesses, has covered most of the damaged areas with plywood that has been recently painted with art provided by local artists in order to celebrate inclusivity, diversity and recognize the plight of Black Lives and Black Veterans in Wisconsin.”
Speaking on behalf of the building owner, the building manager authorizes Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum to hire a preferred building restoration contractor & to “orchestrate the project” but that “the business owners were unwilling to pay for the project.”
Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum finalizes scope of project and publishes project proposal and obtains work cost estimates from several local contractors.
Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum obtains $20,000 in project funding commitments from individual and corporate donors.
WVMF Board votes 6-3 against acting as fiduciary agent for the proposed project. The vote reflected a sudden change in the building owner’s position as he pulled his support for the project.
Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum contacted Secretary Kolar informing her of the WVMF vote and further inquired if she supported repairing the museum. No response has been received yet.