Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL to close in January

News Channel 8 (Tampa) is reporting that the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo FL will be closing in January.  This museum houses a number of armored vehicles, including a M5 Stuart, M24 Chaffee (although this vehicle may not be there anymore), a M47 and a rather odd M4 Sherman.  We call the Sherman tank odd for two reasons.  First, it’s a small hatch hull with a 76mm gun turret, a combination we don’t think was ever actually used, and even more strange, it has an experimental postwar commanders cupola.  To view a large photo gallery of the items on display at the Armed Forces History Museum, check out this photo gallery by Paul Hannah.  For more information on the rather unusual commanders cupola on the Sherman tank, check out this thread from the AFV News Discussion Thread.

r-largo-armed-forces-museum-1LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – A popular Largo attraction will soon close because of financial problems.

The Armed Forces History Museum, which opened in August of 2008, will close at the end of the day on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.

The museum has been operating in the red since it opened, according to an announcement about the upcoming closure.

Its location may have impacted attendance. Museum operators described its location as “challenging” because it can not been seen from the road. The museum is located inside a warehouse in an industrial park off Ulmerton Road, which is not a likely tourist destination.

The museum was founded by the late John J. Piazza, Sr. who had collected military memorabilia for 55 years.

The Piazza family estate, along with the museum’s board of directors, are currently in discussions regarding the future of the museum’s collections. While the closure of the facility is two months away, the options of the museum becoming acquired by another organization or the government are still being investigated. All opportunities are being considered, according to the museum’s operators.

“We’re hoping this is our Hail Mary pass. Is there somebody out there that’s going to stand up and say, ‘No way, this can’t happen, just on behalf of the veterans. This just can’t happen’,” said Cindy Dion, who is the Armed Forces History Museum Assistant Executive Director.

A final day event is being organized to show gratitude and to acknowledge the general public, who have been fiercely loyal to the museum, according to its operators.

The Armed Forces History Museum is located at 2050 34th Way N. in Largo, (727) 539-8371.

 

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