The Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas began with a Korean War U.S. M1 carbine rifle and Emmett Casciato’s fascination with military history.
Today, after many years of collecting, Casciato’s finds are the cornerstone of the museum, of which Casciato is the curator. The museum is currently housed in the former county administration building beside the courthouse in downtown Brevard and features artifacts, uniforms, weaponry, original newspapers, personal letters and more from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The mission of the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas is to honor our veterans in North and South Carolina, and throughout the United States, by relating their stories,” Casciato said. “Expressing and displaying the interesting things about our great men and women of all the Armed Forces in various ways is truly worthwhile and fascinating. Encompassing their poignant stories are the following: the weapons they used, the uniforms they wore, the memorabilia that was theirs, and, most of all, the special brotherhood they share. We plan to acclaim their courage by recording their unique stories, passing them on to the Library of Congress, one of the major library collections of the world, located in Washington, D.C. Our museum proudly possesses an Honor Wall, offering an exceptional opportunity for relatives to honor loved ones.”
The museum also hosts occasional lectures on different aspects of the military and war, as well as field trips from school students.
Students, and the public in general, can also have access to the museum’s collection of 1,500 books and editions of Life magazine dating between 1939 and 1946. During 2018, the museum welcomed more than 10,000 visitors, both residents and tourists.
“Educating visitors of all ages about our military, present and past, is so vital to our nation,” Casciato said. “We offer guided tours for schools, scouts, seniors, DAR groups, veterans organizations, tour companies, etc. Monthly lectures and our military movies, with free popcorn, are quite popular at the museum. Distinctive military programs to depict certain anniversaries, like D-Day and Veterans Day, etc., are offered. It’s important to preserve our military history, so our future generations will continue to remember the bravery shown, including the sacrifices each of them made to protect us and our country. For a nation who forgets its defenders, will, in itself, be forgotten.”
The museum’s current location is seen as temporary and its organizers are in the middle of raising money to build a permanent site, with expanded space for exhibits and special events.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information about the museum, go to www.theveteransmuseum.org.