DefaultJimmy Whisman shows just some of the wonderful exhibits at his museum in Gum Branch.
A museum showcasing the military is now open in Gum Branch.
Jimmy Whisman, retired chief warrant officer of the United Sates Army, took his passion for collecting military items a step further than most by creating his own museum.
He hosted a special open house Sunday with about 40 people showing up to witness his dream becoming a reality.
“I’ve been collecting items probably since 1969 and I wanted a place to display everything,” Whisman said. “With the help of a few of my friends and family, we built the facility; and I designed the interior and placed most of the items on display myself.”
Some of the items he has collected throughout the years include military rifles from Iraq, Pakistan, the German and Swiss armies, Japanese and Chinese firearms, captured Iraqi radios from the Gulf war, Civil War pistols, World War II ration cards and letters, and uniforms worn by soldiers from throughout the world.
Whisman wore two of the uniforms on display during his time serving the military. Each uniform is professionally draped on mannequins he purchased.
“I have around 27-30 mannequins and they each cost around $110. Then an extra $70 is added to have it shipped, but it’s worth it to see the uniforms displayed properly,” he said.
Whisman served in the 24th Infantry mechanized division out of Fort Stewart and later served in the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.
His mission for the museum is to identify, collect, research, preserve, and interpret historically significant relics and maintain them as a usable resource for scholars; to further community relations, as well as enhance morale and esprit de corps; to provide a professional facility for the complete history of the world of military history, from programs, classes, exhibits, audiovisuals, and publications, for use by local military groups, public schools, and the civilian and military populations.
Whisman vowed he would never charge admission and currently schedules tours by appointment only. He hopes the schools will make appointments to see his collection, and give him the opportunity to educate the children about the military.
But military items are just part of what Whisman calls an eclectic collection that also includes some of the swords used in the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, a fully dressed Star Fleet Captain Kirk uniform, a Klingon battle sword and other and Star Trek memorabilia, and an African artifact display with medical equipment used on Idi Amin.
Whisman has a library of reference and research books at his home and has studied every artifact and item he receives. He can share information about every item he has on display from memory.
The museum also offers a meeting place with a full size conference table.
“I built this so I could have a place to come and see my collection,” Whisman said. “Now that it is done I’m happy to share this with others. I hope to find folks out there that share my interest and possibly create a board of directors and establish a foundation to keep this museum going past my years.”
Contact information for the museum
To schedule an appointment, call 368-3979. For more information about the museum and the exhibits visit www.whismanmilitarymuseum.com