Kansas City, Mo. The association governing the nation's largest World War I memorial says it has raised the full $26.6 million needed to pay for the expansion of the monument's museum.
Now under construction, the Liberty Memorial's museum will rely heavily on audiovisual elements. It also will feature large and small historical objects.
"We are thrilled to have achieved this milestone, which will allow Liberty Memorial to finish its construction part of the project," said Tim Kristl, a Kansas City parks commissioner and a member of the memorial's board.
U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Sam Graves, and former congresswoman Karen McCarthy have been invited to a reception the Liberty Memorial Association has planned for Wednesday.
Most of the money came from a $20 million general obligation bond issue Kansas City voters approved in 2004. Half of that has been sold so far, and construction of the museum has begun with an eye toward a Veterans Day 2006 opening.
The project also received $800,000 in federal money this year with Talent's assistance: $300,000 to be used to preserve the memorial's historic collection of war artifacts, and $500,000 to be used for construction and preservation.
On Armistice Day in 1926, leaders from five allied powers, Belgium, Italy, France, Great Britain and the United States, gathered in Kansas City for its dedication.
Shut down in 1994 because of deterioration, the memorial was restored and rededicated in 2002. During the restoration, an area was created beneath the monument for the new museum, an auditorium, an education area and research space.