A recent incident occurred at the FREEDOM MUSEUM, and as President of the Museum Board, 1 am required to address it. I will preference my response with a few facts pertinent to the issue. When the museum opened, we were very lax about letting visitors bring their pets into the building, and that proved to be a serious mistake. In far too many cases, dogs would poop or urinate on the carpet, their owners would smile, shrug and walk out the doors leaving the mess for our dedicated volunteers to cleanup. The museum had a major lighting strike some two years ago which fried most of our electrical equipment, blew a hole in the interior cement floor and severely damage the carpet. The insurance covered some of the damage, and we recently got a new floor as a result.
Since the floor was new and unsoiled, our board voted to no longer allow family pets in the museum. However, we are very aware of the “trained service dog” situation, but it was not addressed adequately and completely. (And there is a definable difference between a TRAINED service dog and the family/comfort dog.) That resulted in a recent incident where a veteran came to the museum with his service dog, and our assistant curator explained to him what our policy is to the best of his knowledge. It was an honest mistake through no fault of our Asst. Curator, who by the way is a decorated veteran to include the Purple Heart, a wonderful asset to the museum and a fine Christian man who would under no circumstances disrespect a fellow veteran. This incident has been put on “Facebook,” and some very hateful and unnecessary comments have been made by individuals who were neither there nor know all the facts.
To the veteran and his wife who were involved, I extend my sincerest apology for this unfortunate incident, and I respectfully invite you to return to the museum where you will most assuredly be welcome and you might just make a new friend in our staff. As Board President, I suggest that those who wish to further this unfortunate incident I please direct your comments to me personally as “the buck stops here” and not with our staff or board.
John L. Tripplehorn
President, Freedom Museum USA
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