JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Bringing history to life one mannequin and one story at a time. That’s what Dennis Skupinski and a group of volunteers are doing at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson.
“When you see it, we want you to see an actual soldier,” said, Treasurer for the Museum Dennis Skupinski.
The stories are on display front and center. From Marines to nurses, to pilots, to World War 1 trench fighters. Each one is hand-crafted and dressed head to toe in their authentic uniforms.
“Usually we try and have a story you know of someone who wore that uniform and even though the mannequin doesn’t look like the person it still gives you a feel that ok somebody wore this and this is what they did,” said Skupinski.
They are unique stories of people from Michigan who served their country. Like actor George Peppard.
“He was one of the five top actors in the world. You know He was in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Carpetbaggers, blue max. I mean he was an A-level actor and he’s from Michigan and he was in the marine core.”
That’s just one example. The real-life pictures of dozens of Michigan veterans decorate the space. Some of their uniforms and other pieces are donated by the community. Others are bought from collectors. Jackson veteran and volunteer at the museum Merv Wygant says it’s about keeping these stories and legacies alive.
“We get the gamut. We get the items that came in from somebody who did very little in war and people who have purple hearts and bronze stars. So it’s a very wide range of things we see,” said Wygant.
Skupinski says he hopes when people come through they walk away inspired, and with a new appreciation for all who served their country.
“For society, what they’ve done for the state and so if you do wear the uniform for the armed services we want you to be proud of it and know that there is a history behind it.”