Part two of Bob’s trip to the Indiana Military Museum. In this episode you’ll see Jim Osborne’s famed 1831 Harpers Ferry flintlock his dad gave him when he was 8 years old that started it all. Plus, see more of this incredible collection including the rolling stock, aircraft and submarine.
Folks, this week, Military Collectors, we have a special show, and it’s an honor to privileged, I know you may think that I’m somewhere in Europe.
That I’m somewhere in the aftermath of World War Two.
No, we’re right here in the heartland of the United States, Indiana, Vincennes to be specific.
We’re here at the Indiana Military Museum to showcase, probably one of the largest personal collections of any single individual, who put all of the items that you’re going to see on Military Collectors this week.
He put it all on display for everyone of America to see.
Again, little Oh, Vincennes, Indiana, Jim Osborne and his personal collection.
Probably, well over a quarter of a million artifacts, roll in vehicles, tanks, airplanes, you name it, it’s here.
And it’s well done and it is a show worth watching right here on Military Collectors.
Welcome to this week’s Military Collectors folks, and we’re back here.
If you didn’t have a chance to see last week’s show with collector Jim Osbourne here in Vincennes, Indiana, we’re back this week and we brought Jim into the museum and the facility that he’s actually built from scratch here.
It’s moved several times, but you know Jim, welcome back to the show this week.
And you know, we’re now going to talk about this wonderful facility that you have here.
Tell us about how, I know it’s moved from basements to another facility here in Vincennes, but now it’s home.
(Yes.) tell, tell me about this this museum and what you all have here.
[Jim] Well, after, after about 25 years of being at the old locations and there in the town, outside of town, we were able to acquire this property. This Blackford glass, former Blackford property. About 14 acres, which is adjacent to our George Rogers Clark National Park, perfect location and back in 2012.
So, we started the development of this property, had two existing buildings, the one we’re in right now, and a much larger building over here.
It’s now our annex building, this was our first display building, right here, the 6000 square feet were in.
[Bob] So what has this, the first building here, this display build, what, what, what’s covered in this building?
[Jim] Well we cover everything at the museum from from the pre Civil War period all the way to the present day.
So, these showcases all the way around the walls are in sequence and follow that sequence.
We’re now that we have added the annex building 22,000 square feet over there, we’re making this more and more of a showcase building of the smaller artifacts and the other building is going to be our what we call the virtual immersion into life-sized scenes ranging from World War one trenches all the way up to the War in the Middle East.
[Bob] So, it’s almost kind of like a mini movie set over there.
[Jim] It is. It’s very realistic.
[Bob] Well, in this building each one of the displays you have, of course, has your signature on it.
You’re almost an expert curator, I mean, so, when you go down through there you’ve placed all these items, not only do you collect them, but you’ve placed them in there.
[Jim] Well, I for the most part, yeah, I kind of outlined the layout of each of the exhibits.
You know, I think every military collector is a museum curator at heart.
And so, you know it’s not that hard to go about doing this.
(Right.) I think every collector that collects anything like this is able to do this.
[Bob] Well, talk to me a little bit about the grounds outside.
You’ve got, I mean, air airframes out there, you’ve got armored vehicles, you’ve got roll rolling stock, so tell me a little bit about the grounds out there and some of the special things out there.
[Jim] Well, on the grounds we’ve got about 13, I think, 13 aircraft at this time.
We have, of course, have the USS Indianapolis submarine and we have a Mace Missile out there from the Cold War period.
Behind this building, we have a huge area where we use, which we use for our reenactments for World War One, World War Two.
We’ve got over a hundred yards of trenches and dugouts out there that, and bleachers set up, so when we have these special events people can come and watch the the battles and reenactments whether it’s Civil War, World War I, World War Two.
So, we have a lot of outdoor space and and it’s filling up.
[Bob] Well, you, you also have facilities here that you’ve kind of moved around that you store future items that are going to be coming online in the future.
[Jim] Two years ago we had to construct another facility another building behind us to accommodate the restored items, some of the non restored items and also a restoration shop.
[Bob] Wow, well, I know folks have watched you stand there holding this item here.
Tell me a little bit about this, because it has special meaning to you.
[Jim] Well, this, this is where the collection all began and it’s kind of my sentimental favorite it’s an 1831 Harpers Ferry flintlock.
And this is something my father brought home and gave to me when I was about seven or eight years old.
And there’s someone that owed him $30 and they just they traded it off in this Harper’s Ferry instead.
And so I’ve always, always been a sentimental piece of mine and this is where the collection really began.
[Bob] Well, and all of these vehicles that you have here, I mean, gosh, I, I can’t even count them.
And I won’t even put you on the spot on how many you have here that welcome to yeah there’s probably well over 100, 200 probably, rolling around here.
But, what was the first rolling vehicle that you collected.
[Jim] My first rolling vehicle was a jeep in World War 2 Jeep which is behind us here and then also about the same time acquired a World War one German cannon.
(Wow.) Which is also here in this building still and so those those were the first big items and then of course it started getting bigger and bigger after that.
[Bob] Well, as your travels here and I’m gonna sit back here and I know it’s one item here that I know you want to talk about before we go but this has some special meaning to you as well.
[Jim] Yes, this is one of my favorite items and this came from Sainte-Mère-Église from the Merderet River which is just south of Sainte-Mère-Église, close to where General Gavin landed on D-day.
This is an M1 Grand that came out of the river there back in the 90s.
And a friend of mine who lives there in Sainte-Mère-Église dredged this up along with another one and a 16 millimeter mortar.
So, he sent it back with me to, for the museum back, back then.
And what’s interesting of course you can see how pitted and how wormy it is, but after all of that.
(It was built to last.) They still had grease and oil in it and could still cock and function.
Can you believe that?
It had been in the river all that time.
Of course, we’ll never know what what the outcome was for the soldier that carried this.
We have no idea who he was whether he survived or not but we know that this went into the river there so he probably did too and he hopefully he hopefully he got out.
[Bob] Could’ve been a member of the 82nd or the 101st.
[Jim] Either one, could have been, yes.
Well Jim, thank you so much for being back on the show this week and talking about your beautiful Museum here.
And folks, listen, stay tuned because Jim’s going to take us around we’ve got more to see here at the Indiana Military Museum right downtown Vincennes Indiana and listen Military Collectors, I just tell you, we’re never, ever gonna cease to surprise you what we’re going to show you next so stay tuned won’t you we’re gonna have more great things to show you on this week’s Military Collectors.
[Narrator] If you have missed any past episodes of military collectors be sure to go online at military collectors tv.com and you can see not only fast episodes but also read in-depth features on the people and their fashion of their military collections.
Well, I want to talk specifically here at the Museum in Vincennes, Indiana with Jim Osborne specifically about a special event that he has, a tribute to the World War Two veterans every year.
And you know Jim, we have a significant artifact back here that you’ve amassed tell me a little bit about this because this is unique.
[Jim] Yeah Bob, this is a World War Two LCVP Higgins Boat.
This is one of only 13 World War Two Higgins boats that are still left intact out of almost 23,000 that were built.
And so we’re very, very proud to have this.
We spent four years, five years almost restoring this.
And so, it’s one of our main show pieces because these were so important, as you know, in Normandy, the landings of D-DAY all through the Pacific, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, all the landings there.
This is what got the troops ashore.
[Bob] Well, you know, the detail that you have put on these displays, sound effects and those sorts of things, really, it’s so much adds to the experience especially during the September event.
Now tell me a little bit about some of the other unique features.
I, I see the the World War Two barracks.
You’ve got the household, what it was like sitting there listening to the radio when the announcement was made by Roosevelt.
I mean, that’s, that’s visionary.
[Jim] Well, we’ve tried to make this building, the one we are in here, which we call the annex the the Total Immersion building.
Where you make, where you feel like you are there on the spot whether it’s the Higgins boat behind us or the church or the barracks or the homefront scene that you referred to, so the person can walk in here and just feel like I’m right here.
This is the, you can walk past the home front to see how the folks were living in 1941 at the time of Pearl Harbor.
You see the kitchen the living room the dining room and and what what all was taking place there when they heard Roosevelt making the announcement about Pearl Harbor.
The same thing with the barracks.
You see the early World War Two barracks here, it’s the original barracks that came from just across the river here at George Field.
And again, you see the use of each of these rooms in the barracks you know whether it’s the infirmary or if it’s the bunks and so forth.
So you can you can get that feeling.
And that’s the same thing we’re gonna do with the World War One trench as soon as we’re done.
You can walk through a full World War One trench here in this building and get the full effect of how that was.
[Bob] Well, you know Jim, I think one things that is special here from the history of our country as through conflict.
You, I know your emphasis and you love the World War Two history because again your 1945 World War Two baby, ok, and.
But you have made special efforts to talk about from the inception of the country all the way through present day through the War on Terrorism.
And I think that that’s what makes this place so complete and and I just have to applaud you for that.
Because again, from the Normandy invasion to to the the air drops all the different artifacts that you put together here I mean that that is so visionary.
[Jim] Well, appreciate that, I mean, we’ve tried to make this a very comprehensive collection and from beginning to end so from the pre-revolutionary war days right up to the present day in the Middle East.
This museum covers all of those topics.
And so, I think that’s real important, of course, for our visitors to not just focus on, although we have a beautiful World War II collection, fantastic one, that there’s so much more here to see.
And I think we’re one of the best ten comprehensive collections in the whole country.
[Bob] Well, tell me just briefly about your September event your salute to World War II veterans, you have that every year.
What can folks expect when they come here over Labor Day?
[Jim] Our annual and Labor Day weekend event to salute to the veterans of World War Two.
This will be our 12th year.
That we have two complete battle reenactments each day.
There will be all kinds of reenactors representing British, French, German, American troops even some Japanese.
And, and, we’ll have vendors and all kinds of vendors selling things, of course, food vendors.
And there we’ll have stage shows.
We’ll have the Andrew Sisters on stage.
And, and the surprise usually is that we’ll have a few flyovers from Warbirds and so forth.
So, it’s a, it’s a big weekend a fantastic weekend to bring the whole family out.
And it, and it’s, other than a parking fee of three dollars to park on our property, it’s free!
Everything outdoors is free.
So it’s a, it’s a great event and attended by thousands and so.
[Bob] If somebody wants to come and they want to find out about the event can they log onto your website?
Tell them how to do that.
[Jim] Yes, our website will do that, Indiana Military Museum .com and I think dot org will also bring it up and yeah, the website will tell them all about it.
[Bob] And we’ll also have it on militarycollectors tv.com.
Well, listen, I’ve got to pick your brain some more, okay, but first, folks listen, when Military Collectors comes back, we’re going to talk to some very special partners that Jim has a massed and put together.
He now has a corporation that manages and helps him take care of his collection.
These special guys are on the Board of Directors.
And so, we’re going to hear from them and their perspective of what it’s like, not to collect this stuff, but to manage it and to make sure that it’s showcased for others to see from now until well into the future of history.
Welcome back to our show.
Well, you know, military museums come and go but this one here in Vincennes Indiana the Indiana Military Museum has some special members volunteers and they have an organization that’s put together that helps Jim continue on his legacy and two of those Corporate Board Members are joining me today I have George Rehnquist right here from Princeton, Indiana.
A former attorney and now retired and David Skinner a financial adviser here in Vincennes.
And these two guys have honored our presence today because they’ve been able to come down and talk a little bit about Jim’s collection and what they do for them Indiana Military Museum.
And guys I I really want to thank you both for being on the show today.
And you know, I have to just ask you these types of questions but what’s it mean to be a part of the Board of this massive collection.
[George] Well, I think it’s a great honor for us.
It’s exciting, it’s a, it’s fun and educational to watch something develop like this from a very small start and Jim has to be highly credited for doing that.
It’s really his Museum.
We help on his Board of Directors but he’s the he’s the one that really puts it together.
[Bob] Well, you know David, I will tell you from from you growing up here in Vincennes and being a member of the community, how important is this museum to the community?
[David] Well, it’s hugely gratifying and you know we’re, we’re, we got this collection that represents the history of our military and this collection draws in thousands of tourists a year.
I’m very involved with tourism here in addition to the museum.
And everyone gets to enjoy this extraordinary collection.
And all the volunteers the hundreds of volunteers about this place work or I know personally very gratified to help save this important part of our our history and thank all the former military people that made this all possible.
[Bob] Well, I know that you guys host various events for different stages of wars throughout the year.
Tell me a little bit about those events and special events that you host right here at the museum.
[David] Well, we have a whole series of events.
We have a Vietnam event we have a World War One event with quite a few visitors, some reenactors and a lot of the equipment from those those wars are on display but our big event in our event that’s been around for many years as a World War Two event.
And we have thousands of visitors that come to town.
We have re-enactors, we have battles out back and all the property we have you know a lot of people dressed up in uniform and we even have former World War Two vets that give presentations and tell stories about some of the heroic things that they were involved in during that great war.
[Bob] Well, you know George, you as an avid collector yourself, what, what do you enjoy collecting?
[George] Well, I collect World War Two and really Jim is the one who started me on this.
So I have to give him a lot of credit not only for his collection but for mine as well.
And I have some military vehicles and but nothing like this this is outstanding!
[Bob] Well, I will tell you, David and you, do you love to collect?
[David] No, I do not collect, I mean I collect Coca-cola stuff but that’s not, nothing as sacred as this incredible military collection which is so important.
[Bob] Well, it’s so important with gentlemen and individuals like you to help support organizations like this and I know that it’s not easy.
I know it takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication to do that and I really appreciate you guys taking the time today to come and be on our show to talk about this wonderful man that we all know and love, Jim Osbourne and his collection.
And I know you guys will continue with the rest of the Board of Directors.
Because there have been some special ones that have, I understand, have been on the board and there are many that sit with you guys now that will continue this legacy.
And I just want to wish both of you Godspeed, thank you.
Thank you so much for being on our show this week, thank you.
And with that, folks, stay tuned, when we come back, Military Collectors is going to have Jim Osbourne talk about one of the special pieces in his collection here at the Indiana Military Museum and we’re going to talk about a special event that happens every year.
[Narrator] If you have missed any past episodes of military collectors be sure to go online at military collectors tv.com and you can see not only past episodes but also read in-depth features on the people and their passion of their military collections.
Well, welcome back.
You know, with all of you restoration buffs out there we’re now in the facility here at the Indiana Military Museum with Jim.
They, this is a brand new building that’s added onto this 14 acre complex.
This is where all of the steel, the paint, the nuts the bolts, the volunteers come together to restore future items for the floor over there Jim.
So, tell me a little bit about this new facility and and what all you guys got going on over here.
[Jim] Well, the facility is just as you described it it’s helped to provide us a roof over everything that we’re restoring so that you don’t put it back out in the weather.
And if we don’t get it in on exhibit, at least we have a place to keep it we keep it for the reenactments and the parades and so forth.
But it’s also our restoration facility, so we work on everything over here and and make sure it’s running or make sure that we’ve got a project to restore.
We have probably half a dozen in here right now, restoration projects and this is where we do it.
[Bob] Well, you know, some of the unique items that you have that you got coming online tell me a little bit about that because I mean I see you have some WCs back there and, of course, you’ve got some armored vehicles back there as well.
Tell me a little bit about what you have.
[Jim] Well, a couple of projects coming on, as you say, the, the WC Dodge series we’ve got some restorations to do there.
We’ve also got a script Jeep right behind us here and an M38 Jeep that we’re working on.
And we’ve got a German half track 251 that will start next year that’s still sitting out in the boneyard, as well as Marmon Harrington tank.
So we’ve got a lot on the list coming up.
[Bob] Well, you know Jim, I tell you, one of the key pieces is, is, is having those volunteers who turn wrenches run the Sanders and and spray all the paint.
How valuable is that to an organization like the Indiana Military Museum?
[Jim] Couldn’t exist without it!
You have to have those people or we wouldn’t be making any headway whatsoever.
[Bob] Well, you know one of the key things that I stress in doing this show is I go around the country, one of the most expensive things is the restoration process for these vehicles.
I mean, yeah, they’re expensive to acquire but the man-hours that it takes, I mean, you have to really have patience and a lot of money because a lot of folks in restoration facilities charge anywhere from a hundred one hundred twenty-five dollars an hour and they’re keeping the time clock so you can very well invest 75 to 100 hours on a Jeep.
[Jim] Oh that’s easily done, yeah, yeah.
If you have to go out and pay for restorations it can be very expensive.
So a lot of times is if they’re if you’re not, if you don’t have a facility for the restoration and you don’t have the people that are willing to work on it for restoration then you’re gonna have to go out and buy something and usually you you get what you pay for and so if you, if you’ve got an expensive Jeep out there you’re probably gonna get one of runs.
(Right.) And if you get an inexpensive one it probably doesn’t run.
[Bob] Well, I have to ask you before we go and it’s just been a wonderful visit here in the heartland of the United States and Indiana what do you have your eye on out there that you would like to find or that you may already find that you’re gonna go get?
[Jim] I can think of a few things that we’re always looking for World War 2 aircraft, non flyable aircraft.
Something that can be static exhibit, we’re still looking for those kind of pieces.
We’d like to have an A-10 Warthog if we could get a sponsor for one of those.
And we’re looking for any type of World War 2 vehicle that we don’t have already.
And so, there’s there’s some some of those out there that we don’t have.
[Bob] Well Jim, we put out the call okay and so and you know folks may either get a hold of me or they can get all to you but I will tell you this is the best kept secret not only I think in the Midwest but I think it’s one of those unsung places that folks need to know about right here in the heart of Indiana and Vincennes and they owe it all to you.
And thank you so much for being on our show this week.
I wish you Godspeed on that next great thing.
Call me, okay, and if you’ve got something out there that just absolutely excites you we’ll come and Military Collectors will showcase it for you.
So with that, and folks, that’s our show for this week and we really appreciate you all looking in the Indiana Military Museum right here in Vincennes, Indiana.
Log on the military collectors tv.com and they’ll take you to the site there.
You can come down special events, you can just come down to view this wonderful 14 acre facility.
The kids will enjoy it the whole family will come, and I know they will not regret the trip down here to the great state of Indiana with that we’ll see you next time on another episode of Military Collectors.