On Wednesday, March 1 at 11:00 AM, the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas will proudly re-open its doors with a warm welcome for everyone.

Founder/Curator Emmett Casciato often says, “A visiting veteran will see one of our artifacts and begin telling a story. The veteran’s adult children will say ‘He’s never told that story before!’”
What’s new in the museum this year?

Each of our galleries features a professionally-produced 6-7 minute video entitled “Through Their Eyes.” They tell the story of Americans at war. Learn why and how each war began, see images of what it was like for our service members, and discover up-close the artifacts, uniforms, and stories of local veterans who served. These short videos play separately as you visit the galleries of WWI, WWII-Europe, WWII-Pacific, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the War on Terror. The project is made possible by grants from N.C. Humanities, Lake Toxaway Charities, Pisgah Forest Rotary, and Transylvania County. If you missed the premiere in October, now’s your chance to experience these compelling stories at your own pace.

The Vietnam gallery has been dedicated to Vietnam veteran Mike Di Rocco

He served in the US Army Special Forces and USMC, serving two tours of duty in Vietnam. Di Rocco, a much-respected and loved volunteer and speaker for the museum, sadly passed away in 2022. This gallery also offers new artifacts from two local veterans who were POWs in Vietnam.

You may be surprised to find a Russian truck-launched rocket in the museum now. We believe this one was retrieved in Iraq or Afghanistan by Navy Seals. It’s just one example of the unique and interesting items you’ll find.

The WWI gallery boasts a rare Maxim machine gun.

No worries about mis-placing this artifact—it’s so heavy that it took 6 men to man it! That included transporting and operating the gun, the stand, the ammo, and even water for cooling. It’s a must-see.

1943 Willys Jeep exhibit

If you haven’t yet seen the 1943 Willys Jeep exhibit, it’s now at its best. Additional equipment and artifacts from WWII have been added to this “visitors’ favorite” scene. It’s titled, “Somewhere in Europe . . . Letters from Home,” and depicts an Army Post Office with soldiers arriving, hoping for a letter from a loved one. The 1942 Harley-Davidson nearby provided transportation for MPs. You’ll notice the authentic leather saddlebags and the “suicide stick.” To find out what this means, come on in and ask.

Bring your family members for a unique “walk and learn” experience.

The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Friendly volunteers are ready to greet you, but tours can be self-guided, making it easy for you to spend anything from a few minutes to a few hours enjoying this walk through our proud military history. There are many artifacts with stories behind them – ask a Pathfinder (docent) to share one. We are the museum of stories!

“Through Their Eyes” videos are available on our homepage (all six videos combined) and the 6-7 minute segments are available for viewing on each of the exhibit pages.