Originally dedicated in 1926 to honor Louisiana citizens who gave their lives in World War I, LSU’s newly restored and renovated Memorial Tower will now house a new nod toward our wartime past: the William A. Brookshire LSU Military Museum. Inside, visitors will find exhibits and rare memorabilia from LSU staff, faculty and students’ involvement in World War I, World War II and beyond, including the history of ROTC at LSU and LSU’s Ole War Skule traditions dating back to the era of William Tecumseh Sherman. Following its soft opening this past June, the museum will also host a grand opening ceremony this November on Veterans Day.
“There are several levels of importance to museum’s presence at LSU,” Gurie says. “First, the Memorial Tower is widely recognized as one of LSU’s great icons. It has great significance for its relationship with the American Legion of Louisiana, who helped raise money to build Memorial Tower and who are also responsible for the LSU war memorial on the Parade Grounds. Lastly, it’s a great opportunity to educate our faculty, staff, students and the rest of the state about LSU’s rich military history, which a lot of people forget about.”
But the museum is also bringing that history into the technological present, with scannable QR codes near each exhibit offering a wealth of extra information to anyone with a smartphone.
“It’s fun for kids and for older kids that are my age,” says Gurie with a chuckle. “There’s so much stuff to learn and remember that you couldn’t possibly absorb it all at once. So you can scan the codes and download some extra info that way.”
As for the grand opening, keep an eye out for November 11 festivities featuring several LSU music groups and a swath of special guests. To stay in the loop and preview some of the exhibits, visit olewarskule.lsu.edu.