Q: Where is the museum going to be located?
A: In the safety village in Schererville, between the two theaters. They want to build a building and call it a Veterans Museum.
Q: How do you go about raising money for this project?
A: I think we’re up to a little more than $23,000, and I have one student that donated $1,000 of his own money. Every year we do a walk in May. We’ll have the walk/run 3k, 5k and 10k. Then they gather money from that, plus we have some stuff set up at that time where they can see it. We have a little ceremony, we’re trying to raise money to build a museum.
Q: How much money do you have left to raise?
A: We need $50,000.
Q: How did this whole project start?
A: I was approached three years ago about it by a former teacher from Lake Central, a woodshop teacher here for a long time, and he was very enthusiastic about building this. He’s worked and volunteered at the Safety Village and there’s a lot of support from him.
Q: How long have you been collecting all the things you’re putting into the museum?
A: I’ve always collected stuff, but nothing to this extent, and what’s in this room is just the tip of the iceberg.
Q: How did you acquire your collection over the years?
A: Over the years I’ve collected things, people have given us things, a family behind the school just donated over a hundred uniforms to me. That’s why there’s so much stuff in [my classroom]. A lot of things I’ve picked up at flea markets or antique malls over the years. I buy a lot of stuff off EBay, and then a lot of families have just donated things, and a lot of students have brought in things.
Q: How often do students donate items?
A: I just had a girl from my class had just brought in all of her great grandfather’s World War II uniforms, and her great grandmother said, “I want Mr. Clark to have all this stuff.”
Q: What’s your favorite method of obtaining new items for your collection?
A: We’ve picked up a lot of things through the years from these different places, but I think the most touching items are the things donated to me by families and by students. Those are really neat, but I always make sure that the parents know about it.
Q: What really sparked your interest in collecting these kinds of pieces?
A: I brought in some things from World War I, and it was so interesting to have these artifacts. [The students] were so awed by the artifacts that I brought in.
Q: When do you think the museum will be open by?
A: I foresee maybe a year from now.