The U.S. Military Museum in Danbury has closed after 22 years. The Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage, Long Island, has been gifted the museum’s collection of 10,000 artifacts.
Originally called the Military Museum of Southern New England, the U.S. Military Museum focused on 20th century combat, with a collection that encompassed an M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, plus uniforms, military equipment, armored vehicles, uniforms and photographs.
“The strength of our exhibits and the underlying mission have never wavered,” said Al Barto, secretary of the U.S. Military Museum. “From its first day to its last, this museum has been about paying tribute to the American G.I. and our defense of freedom. This is a difficult decision for us, but it was made with considerable care to ensure that the legacy of the U.S. Military Museum lives on by gifting our assets to the Museum of American Armor on Long Island.”
The U.S. Military Museum at 125 Park Ave. was founded by John Valluzzo, who served in the U.S. Army during the late 1950s and self-funded the museum from his real estate business.
In May 2013, Valluzzo was shot and killed by police who responded to a domestic dispute call at his Ridgefield home involving Valluzzo and his girlfriend. Police stated the 75-year-old Valluzzo was armed with a handgun. A subsequent investigation determined Valluzzo’s gun was unloaded, but a state attorney’s report cleared police officer Jorge Romero, who fired the fatal shots, of wrongdoing.
Valluzzo’s ex-wife Cynthia Kasper filed a lawsuit in the fall of 2015 to evict the museum from its Danbury location, but the museum was able to remain open until last month.