A decision on the future of the Rock Island Arsenal Museum has not been made, but Charles Bowery Jr., executive director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, met this week with arsenal commanders to continue discussions.
Bowery visited the arsenal for a public meeting in late April, but since then, both the garrison commander and Army Sustainment Command leader/senior mission commander have changed. Meetings Monday and Tuesday were set up for introductions and to continue discussions, said Mark Kane, deputy public affairs officer for the garrison.
Bowery previously said that he expected to make a recommendation on the museum in the "October-November" time period and that he would return to the Quad-Cities in late summer for another public meeting.
The future of the museum has been in doubt since early this year when museum hours and staff were cut and word spread that about 25 percent of the museum's collection of 13,000 artifacts had been shipped to an Army museum support facility in Anniston, Alabama.
The overall question arises from a decision to put all 57 Army museums under the direction of the Center of Military History, headquartered in Washington, D.C., for more efficiency and for centralized funding and personnel.
Bowery told the 100 to 125 people who attended the public meeting in April that "the way we've done business all these years is not sustainable. The Army is shrinking. Really, really difficult decisions are being made. We're making decisions in an era of declining resources and declining force strength."
Bowery also said in April that he would not recommend closing the museum but left open the possibility that the space could be repurposed into something else, such as a heritage display.
Once Bowery makes his decision or recommendation, it will go to the Secretary of the Army for final approval.