One group of Brevard Middle School students gathers outside before their museum tour.

What’s a creative way to promote students’ appreciation for our veterans and their understanding of major global conflicts? Take them to the Veterans History Museum in Brevard! While many of the eighth graders at Brevard Middle School traveled to Washington, DC, the students who didn’t go were treated to an American history lesson like no other–right here at home!

students dressing up in military uniforms

Students try on uniforms of their choice of service branches.

Museum docents, many of them veterans, took small groups through each of the museum’s galleries to tell stories of the men and women who served. More than 50 students saw hundreds of artifacts dating from WWI to the Global War on Terror, noticing how uniforms, helmets, canteens, weapons, personal soldiers’ items, and even newspapers have changed in the last hundred+ years.

Many took advantage of the offer to try on kid-sized uniform jackets and covers (caps or helmets) and have their pictures taken. They could choose their uniform from all branches of service: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. If they had a family member who served, this was a way to honor that service member.

students saluting
gas mask

A soldier’s banner in War on Terror gallery reads: “Freedom isn’t free. Never was.”

david morrow showing student photo in museum

Museum board president David Morrow describes historical paintings for students.

Multiple Ways to Learn

Six-minute videos playing in each gallery gave the students an overview of each conflict: WWI, WWII-Europe, WWII-Pacific, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, and War on Terror.

Watching the videos, they learned what started each war, how it was fought and ended, and “met” local veterans who served by seeing their pictures and names on the screen. It was an efficient way to provide historic context for the eighth graders, supplementing their school studies.

Taking the Education Back to School

Dr. Hammond wrote afterward: “Please give our love to our tour guides. I am raffling off a cap from the museum, a t-shirt, and two books: one on WWII veterans (by Janis Allen) and one on Vietnam veterans (by Michel Robertson–our costume designer!). With much affection and appreciation for our tour guides’ service.”

students in military uniforms
student saluting

“We appreciate what you did for the world.”

After their tours, several students decorated cards and wrote thank-you notes to their tour guides. Here are some quotes:
“Thank you so much for your service. We appreciate what you did for the world.”
“Thank you for everything you have done for our country. You are the best.”
“Thank you for showing us all the history.”
“Thanks to your service I am free.”
“Thank you for our freedom.”
“Thank you for your service and fighting for the U.S. and I’m fighting for you.”
“Thank you for showing us how much you love and care for our country.”
“I learned more about WWI and WWII.”
“Thank you all for your service. Without y’all it would be bad.”
“Dear Curtiss, I loved having you as my tour guide. You were hilarious and you made everyone in our group smile. And thank you for your service.”
“God bless. Never forgotten.”

You Can Volunteer

The Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas welcomes interest and inquiries about volunteering. The team spirit is alive and well as we work together to honor veterans, educate the public, and preserve history.

In addition to docents (who may choose their own schedules), we welcome events volunteers, administrative assistance, and other skills and experience you may have to offer. Please email volunteer coordinator Carl Newman at or call 828-884-2141.