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Patton Museum To Close Saturday For Transformation

The transformation of the Patton Museum at Fort Knox will begin Saturday. The long-planned renovations are largely a reaction to changes caused by military base re-alignments.

The Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor is no more. Instead, there will be an armor museum in Fort Benning, Georgia and a Patton Museum of Military Leadership at Fort Knox.

The armor museum is moving south along with the Army’s armor school. Work on the new leadership museum at Fort Knox will begin this weekend. Director Chris Kolakowski says most of the museum will be closed through the end of March.

“The front section will remain open,” he says. “You’ll still be able to see our interim exhibits, which give a taste of what’s coming. Once we get the buildings set we can start filling in the back part of the building. That’s probably going to be a multi-year process.”

Kolakowski says the museum will focus on the history of military leadership, and, like the previous museum, will be used to educate soldiers.

“We’re going to be the home of Army ROTC. This is a great place to teach leadership to those cadets,” he says. “In fact, a significant part of any Army museum’s leadership is soldier training, and we’re not losing sight of that at all.”

New exhibits will be opened gradually over the following two years. The entire project will cost about four and a half million dollars.

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Fort Knox Transformation Moving Forward

Officials say good progress is being made on conversion of the Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Army base to a new mission.

The armor school is moving to Ft. Benning, Georgia, in March, to make room for a multi-functional U.S. Army command center at Ft. Knox. As armor units move out, human resources, officer recruitment, cadet command and marksmanship units are moving in.

Garrison Commander, Col. Eric Schwartz, is overseeing the transformation.

“We’ve brought in this massive complex called the Human Resource Center of Excellence. About 4,200 civilians and military work in that complex – about a $240 million project that came from the ground up,” he said.

Schwartz says the base’s population has risen from 31,000 to 42,000, which includes contractors and civilians, and there are 14,000 new vehicles on base. Housing remains a problem, with 55 percent of employees still living off base in 28 Kentucky and Indiana counties, but new housing units are being built as fast as possible.