Museum on women veterans opens in Florida Panhandle

Monument to Women Veterans in Pensacola opened on Wednesday

More than 1,000 military women have experienced combat-related injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan and a study shows about 40 percent of them will be diagnosed with a mental health condition.

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Occupying a train depot that hasn’t been used in 17 years, a new museum dedicated to the legacy of women veterans opened Wednesday in a veteran-heavy spot in the Florida Panhandle.

The Monument to Women Veterans in Pensacola opened its doors a day before Veterans Day. Its founder eventually hopes to offer social services to veterans and add a training center that can offer courses on topics such drone certification for the construction and real estate industries.

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“We are grassroots so a lot of it is the community coming together,” founder Michelle Caldwell told the Pensacola News Journal.

In its current configuration, the 3,500 square foot museum is located in a former train depot that has been vacant since Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Caldwell worked with the city of Pensacola to lease the building for the museum and she plans to expand as funding allows.

The University of West Florida Historic Trust and Naval Aviation Museum helped fill the museum with memorabilia, but Caldwell is seeking more contributions from women in the military in the Pensacola area to add to the collection.