Honoring the dedication of those who serve their country, Indiana‘s Museum of the Soldier is located about two hours northeast of Indianapolis in Portland, Indiana. The exhibits at this museum help visitors match names and faces to uniforms and other artifacts. Most of the items on display also feature in depth stories of where the soldiers had been and what they may have experienced.
The museum is housed in the 26,000 square foot former Coca-Cola bottling plant in downtown Portland, Indiana. The facility was in disrepair when it was donated to the Museum of the Soldier, and even today the exhibits are only displayed in a fraction of the building. Several improvements have been made to the 1938 structure since the museum opened in 1998. The museum only operates during the summer months, because the roof was in such bad shape. Whenever it rained in Portland, it rained inside the Museum of the Soldier. Luckily, the museum raised enough money for roof repairs in 2010. Now the exhibits can be safely stored at the museum, without the risk of weather damage.
A profile of Jay County’s only missing serviceman, along with other Indiana military legends are recognized on the museum’s website. Master Sergeant Olen B. McLaughlin went missing in action of the South China Sea in July of 1967, and he was never found. He now has a headstone at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Military history buffs frequent this Indiana attractions, but the museum has tons of educational value for everyone, especially Indianapolis kids. Each summer, countless Hoosiers take the short day trip from Indianapolis to the Museum of the Soldier. Can’t get enough military history? Other ways Indy residents honor veterans can be found all over downtown Indianapolis, from Monument Circle to the Canal and White River State Park.
Museum of the Soldier
510 E Arch Street
Portland, Indiana 47371