With nowhere to go, American Military Museum forced to move out
By Eric Eganeegan@abcnews4.com
CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- Hallways of American history are in danger of being shut down. Charleston's military museum is being forced to relocate when its lease expires next month.
In the meantime, the museum has nowhere to go.
It's filled with rare artifacts, uniforms and personal items from the Revolutionary War all the way through Operation Iraqi Freedom. In all likelihood, they won't be there much longer. The landlord who owns the property has different plans.
Many museum items span hundreds of years and tell countless stories of sacrifice and service. But every piece of gear, in every display case at the museum, needs a new home.
"He wants us out, room clean, keys returned," said museum executive director, Randi Meagher. "We have an unbelievable mammoth task and it's exaggerated by the fact that everyone involved is a volunteer."
Meagher says her landlord has asked them to move out. She was given 60 days notice to tear everything down and leave the museum behind. It would be a meticulous process, one Meagher says will take much longer than the time she's been given.
"This is just a nightmare," she said. "Bottom line, it's just an unbelievable nightmare, it's so sad."
Meagher suspects John Rivers Enterprises would prefer to lease the high-value waterfront property to a higher bidder. Repeated calls to the agency by ABC News 4 were not returned.
Meantime, Meagher hopes to keep the precious pieces preserved in a new place, but the timing of her notice to vacate comes at peak season when her non-profit depends on tourism to stay operational.
The pressure to move, she says, is practically impossible.
"It makes it hard. If we had started this back before we went through the off-season, we'd be in better shape too."
The museum and everything inside it must be out, May 21.
The museum has been at its current location for the past decade. It's operated in Charleston for 25 years.