The sixth annual Military Appreciation Weekend featured an open house at the Museum of Missouri Military History as well as re-enactors from past wars.
Two of the visitors Sunday were Brandon Easter and daughter Allison. Brandon taught her about some of the larger items outside — including airplanes, tanks and helicopters. He's friends with ROTC recruiters and is trying to get her interested in considering ROTC to help pay for her college education.
Allison, who recently was accepted at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said she enjoyed the visit to the museum.
"It's all really cool. I always like at least looking at military stuff, so being next to it is really, really cool," she said while checking out a World War I era anti-aircraft gun.
The museum has been in existence for 20 years, six of which at the current location near the entrance of the Missouri National Guard's Ike Skelton Training Site.
The number of visitors to the museum has decreased this year — about 500 have visited so far — due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was closed late March through June.
Museum Director Charles Machon said visitors like the fact the museum isn't about just one war or military era. It has artifacts from throughout the history of our country.
"They like seeing the spread of history," he said. "Pre-Revolutionary War era to today."
One of his prized items is a Civil War uniform worn by a Union soldier. The uniform was forgotten in an attic trunk for around a century — remaining in great condition — before making its way to the museum.
Machon said the museum tries to accommodate people by making it not only handicapped accessible but by keeping displays spread out to give people more room. It also works well for social distancing, he said.
Jan Haviland and Marty Gardner visited the museum Sunday. Gardner said she enjoyed it because she comes from a military background and both of her children have served in the Army.
Haviland came "out of respect for our military, and it's a great educational opportunity to learn about our military history."
Outside, they visited with Brian Connell, of the 102nd Infantry Division Re-enacted, a World War 2 re-enactment group based in Mid-Missouri. Connell talked to them about emergency medical care for soldiers during the war.
The museum is free and open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays.