Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Announces Date for Official Grand Opening

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Public invited to join visiting Medal of Honor recipients and numerous national, state and local dignitaries on February 22 to help cut the ribbon and open the new National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

Side entrance of the new Charles. H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center at the Aquarium Plaza in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“February 22, 2020 will be an exciting day for our city, state and country as we officially open the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center,” said Major General William B. Raines, U.S. Army (Retired) and chairman of the board for the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center (Heritage Center) today announced that it will officially open to the public at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

The public is invited to join at least 20 visiting Medal of Honor recipients and numerous national, state and local dignitaries at 10 a.m. for a special celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony that will culminate a three-year campaign to build the new National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee – the heart of where the Medal’s heritage started nearly 158 years ago.

The Grand Opening is open to the public. For the opening weekend, self-guided tours of the Heritage Center will be offered from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday and from noon-6 p.m. on Sunday. Due to the expected interest during opening weekend, the Heritage Center recommends visitors purchase their tour tickets in advance, which are now available at http://www.MOHHC.org/tickets. Special discounts are available to military and senior citizens, and group rates are available upon request.

“February 22, 2020 will be an exciting day for our city, state and country as we officially open the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center,” said Major General William B. Raines, U.S. Army (Retired) and chairman of the board for the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “In doing so, we have finally secured a national home that will preserve the heritage of the Medal of Honor, which is also an important part of our city’s iconic heritage. More importantly, the Heritage Center will serve as a lasting tribute to these genuine American heroes who represent the best and bravest of all who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation and a place that strives to educate the next generation about the six character traits associated with their gallantry.”

Located in downtown Chattanooga at the Aquarium Plaza, the new National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is a 19,000-square-foot facility featuring dynamic, life-sized exhibits that tell the real-life stories of the Medal of Honor recipients and how they exemplify six common character traits: Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice and Commitment. Through these incredible stories, visitors leave with the conviction that they too can be a hero by emulating these values in their daily actions to help make their community a better place.

“We believe the Heritage Center will forever serve as a testament to what makes Chattanooga special – our great sense of patriotism, purpose and pride,” said Bill Hullander, chairman of the Grand Opening Committee and member of the Heritage Center’s Board of Trustees. “Thanks to our incredible veteran community and generous philanthropic donors, we have truly created a place that not only honors Chattanooga’s rich heritage and military history but will inspire and encourage future generations of youth with the stories and character traits exemplified by our Medal of Honor recipients.”

Unlike a traditional museum, the Heritage Center is designed to be a “living classroom on character education” that preserves the heritage of the Medal of Honor and honors its tradition, culture and values. The Heritage Center will employ the latest technology to create an engaging, interactive experience for visitors of all ages. Each exhibit is designed to immerse visitors in the stories of these American heroes by combining the sights and sounds of Medal of Honor narratives with a vibrancy and immediacy of what happened on that day. As a result, the Heritage Center will create a profound, engaging and memorable experience for its visitors.

“In this day and age where super heroes are all the rage at the box office, the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center will spotlight real super heroes, those ordinary men and women who performed an extraordinary act of valor under the most extreme circumstances,” said Keith Hardison, executive director for the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “Our hope is visitors will see the relevance of these incredible stories and explore how they can impact their communities by emulating these same character traits in their daily actions, whether it be on the playground, in the board room or in everyday life.”

The Heritage Center also features two classrooms and an event space that will be used for Medal of Honor Character Development and Character Club Programs for students, as well as for meetings, social events and other community activities. In addition, the Heritage Center will have a changing exhibit gallery that will house three-to-five temporary exhibits each year. The first temporary exhibit, titled “Honoring the Sacrifice: Medals of Honor Through Time,” is slated to open on February 22 and will feature the stories of Medal of Honor recipients from the Civil War to Vietnam, along with their medals, related artifacts and related images.

For more information about the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, please visit http://www.MOHHC.org or call 423-877-2525.

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Charlotte Lindeman
Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center
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