A group of 50 veterans from across the United States toured a brand-new $17 million museum in the Hudson Valley.

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Veterans Tour New $17 Million Museum in Hudson Valley

In Nov. 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced construction started on a $17 million expansion of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in Orange County, not far from where George Washington first established the Badge of Military Merit, the inspiration for the modern Purple Heart.

Located in New Windsor, a few miles from the Washington Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, the Hall of Honor was expanded with almost 4,300 square feet of new and refurbished exhibit space, with an increased emphasis on stories of individual award recipients.

Opened in 2006, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is the first facility in the nation dedicated to the estimated 1.8 million recipients of the Purple Heart, which is awarded to American military personnel who have been wounded or killed by enemy action.

In Nov. 2020, the facility reopening to the public following an accelerated one-year construction schedule.

The 7,000-square-foot National Purple Heart Hall of Honor features improved visitor access and new and refurbished exhibit space, with an increased emphasis on stories of individual award recipients.

"With support from the state, the late Senator Bill Larkin, a brave World War II veteran and tireless public servant, and others, this facility has grown to include enhanced exhibits and galleries with an increased focus on stories of our war heroes and Purple Heart recipients," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor stands as a tribute to our veterans and honors their sacrifice. I encourage all New Yorkers to visit this museum and recognize and celebrate the men and women who risked their lives to protect us and keep us safe."

The project added 4,300 square feet of new space to create a new museum wing to upgrade exhibits, improve visitor circulation and provide public gathering space.

The galleries/exhibits incorporate integrated audio-visual and media presentations, as well as museum-quality casework for each area with interpretive graphics, locally controlled lighting, touch-screen interactive monitors, and multiple large-format graphic displays.

The expanded exhibits will include more personal stories, interactive displays, and artifacts that highlight the experiences of featured Purple Heart recipients.

The new exhibits allow the Hall to tell individual stories about joining the service, the day of the incident, field treatment and evacuation, the changing nature of warfare, the consequences of war, road to recovery and the ultimate sacrifice. Exterior enhancements include a redesigned entrance, improved accessibility, native landscaping, more convenient parking and walkway improvements.

On Wednesday, 50 veterans toured the New Windsor museum.

One veteran was selected from each state to tour the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

Oliver Hickok, a two-time Purple Heart recipient who was injured twice in the Vietnam War was chosen to represent New York.

“It’s good to be here, but I don’t like thinking back to those moments,” Hickok told CBS.

After touring the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor the group of veterans took a short trip to Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site in the City of Newburgh.

See video of the trip below: