Medal of Honor Museum to star at Patriots Point

A rendering of the National Medal of Honor Museum shows its proposed location near the aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point.

Architects are unveiling design plans this week for a star-shaped National Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point, where work could begin as soon as early next year.

Three buildings, including 10 galleries and a chapel, will help make up the proposed Mount Pleasant museum, according to detailed plans for the project.

The plans will be presented to the Patriots Point Development Authority at its board meeting Friday, said Mac Burdette, executive director.

The $98 million museum could be completed by early 2018, said Robert Wilburn, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation’s president and CEO. Wilburn didn’t have a specific start date for the project, but said the plan is to start in the first quarter of 2016. The lease for a waterfront site at state-owned Patriots Point was signed in October 2013.

Wilburn said the 107,000-square-foot museum will have three floors, plus a mezzanine level, and its five towers will come together in the shape of a star. Parts will be interactive, and some of the exhibits will zero in on specific time periods. One will center on the Civil War through the start of World War I, another on World War I and World War II, and a third focusing on the Cold War and other U.S. conflicts.

“This museum and education center will inform, engage and ultimately inspire visitors to appreciate the meaning and price of freedom and our shared responsibilities as citizens in a democracy,” Wilburn said in a written statement.

The museum will feature a public event venue called the Hall of Valor with a 240-seat auditorium. It also will include a shop and a chapel with space for about 140 people.

The foundation has to raise a quarter of the $98 million before starting on the site work and relocating a road, Wilburn said.

Organizers will need 75 percent of the money to do the construction, he said. Last year, the foundation raised $13.5 million, more than double the $5 million goal, he said.

During the next 18 months, which Wilburn described as a crucial fundraising period, the group plans to approach more corporations, foundations and individuals.

Texas billionaire Ross Perot held an event in Dallas in September to help raise funds for the project. The museum also got $1 million from the S.C. General Assembly.

Safdie Architects is the building designer. Gallagher & Associates is doing the interior exhibition design.

Safdie also designed the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, according to a statement. Gallagher worked on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Safdie Architects and had an incomplete name of the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.