America’s First Responders and Military Museum moving out of the Naples Airport into new location


It may be small in stature, but the significance of the artifacts located inside America’s Military and First Responders Museum in the Naples Airport is anything but small in what it means to those who served in the military or lost someone who served.

Soon, there will be a bigger space to display all of the artifacts.

“It gives me chills sometimes because I see these people that have gone before me, the ones that I admired, the ones that were my role models as a military person,” said Eduardo Alzona, who served in the military for 30 years.

Right now, the museum sits in an 884-square-foot area inside a terminal at the Naples Airport.

Because of the small location, Dave Hinds, the president of the museum, said they’ve had to put more than thousands of artifacts inside of storage.

“In 2020, the airport remodeled, and so we had to pack everything up and then move all the cases out and put it in storage,” Hinds said. “We love the airport, and they love us because the airport was built in the 1940s as a training facility for the Air Corps pilots. So, we like the combination, but it’s to the point now that we’re expanding so fast.”

They’re expanding so fast because Hinds said the museum gets weekly donations.

That’s why the museum is moving from the Naples Airport to a new location.

“We’re now at the point that we’re trying to rotate some of the older items because we get two or three artifacts donated every week, and we recently got two walkie-talkies, the big ones like that they used in the Vietnam War,” Hinds said. “The gentleman who donated and said look on the end of it, and it’s written in Vietnamese, and then he says, I was with the CIA, and we gave these walkie-talkies to the village chiefs, and if they saw any vehicle movement, they would know how to turn it on, and they could call us and tell us.”

The museum has expanded so much that it needed a location to house all of the items in it, and luckily, Collier County Commissioners did just that.

The museum will be moving to Golden Gate Parkway and will have nearly 12,000 square feet to move all of the artifacts they have in storage and put them on display.

“We have so many unique items. I mean, a lot of places you see uniforms and some weapons, but we have so many unique items. We have a Harley Davidson bicycle that’s converted with a cage on the back that in World War Two, they had carrier pigeons, because the telegraph lines were being cut,” Hinds said.

The museum hopes to be in its new location by Memorial Day next year, but putting it together will be expensive, so Hinds said they will hold fundraisers.

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