MiGreatPlaces: Clare County Veterans Museum

County fairs offer lots of rides, animals and excitement.

But when you head to Clare County, there is a special exhibit that you won’t find everywhere else.

Honoring our veterans and what they’ve done in today’s MiGreatPlaces.

“I have myself, I have my son up here, I have my father up here. I have my stepfather. Joe has his father up here.”

A very special wall. “We cherish this wall because it’s everybody that comes up, it’s memories. We have so many people visit up, and went home and came back the next day or later that day with their picture and said hey can I post this,” explains Dick Vershave of American Legion Post 404. 

A wall dedicated to veterans and those currently serving their country. In a museum at the Clare County Fair, that helps everyone remember the past.

Master Sergeant Kenny Spiegel says, “you look up here and it goes all the way from the desert wars that’s from WWI going forward we’ve even got some items that are Civil War age.”

All of this came to be because of one man.

“About 8 years ago a man who was well respected in town taught ROTC in our local high school. Mark Carlson had an idea and a dream to start a museum. He had a building, in this particular building about half this size and started the museum and really got the ball rolling,” says Dick. 

And today there is a lot to see.

“It goes from WWII to Spanish American, WWI, all the way up to Korea and Vietnam. Pictures and postcards and the nice thing they can walk right up to it and read it,” Clare County Veterans Display President Joe Bradley explains. 

Lots to read, plus four uniforms dating back to World War I all belonging to service members from Clare County who died in battle.

Plus, a look at what life is like for those who serve.

“I have it kind of set up like a military bunk and all the stuff you would have. Right now Kenny would say the bed’s awful messy but to show all the stuff we have it laying on the bed. If you had all that laying in your bed, they would throw it on the floor.”

And Kenny is one of a handful of veterans who is there giving tours and telling his personal stories.

“I have my original United State Marine Corps uniform up here on the wall. I got out of the Marine Corps in 1967 and later on later years I went into the Army.”

Every year more donations come in and President Joe Bradley finds more to collect. But sadly, the man who started it all isn’t here to see what it became.

“We have dedicated this museum to Mark and his family and this particular display and others as you’ll see maybe this year, next year we may change, we move things around. But this particular display I’m standing in front of will never change. This is in memory of Mark and this is permanent and this will always be this way.”

Everyone is encouraged to bring in pictures of veterans or active service members in their lives and they will be posted on the wall.

The museum is open at all times during the Clare County Fair.