Kenosha’s Pritzker Military Archives Center expected to open Memorial Day

Chicago museum relocating its entire operation across the border

SOMERS, Wis. — A Chicago military museum relocating across the border to Kenosha County is expected to open its archives center by Memorial Day.

The 51,600-square-foot research and military artifact preservation center is located just off Interstate 94 and Highway E in Somers.

The facility is expected to hold roughly 120,000 military pieces. The property includes walking paths, solar energy panels, and plenty of room for expansion.

“(Located) between Milwaukee and Chicago, it’s the perfect place for any veteran and all veterans and families,” said Ted DeMicchi, a U.S. Air Force veteran and member of nearby Somers American Legion.

DeMicchi was one of the first to tour the center and meet its founder Jennifer Pritzker, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard. Pritzker is a cousin of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

“We got to talk to Colonel Pritzker,” DeMicchi said. “She rode in on a World War II Jeep, which is kind of neat. She’s quite a person. Down to earth and would talk to anybody and everybody.”

The museum is relocating to Kenosha as a cost-saving move and to centralize the entire operation, according to Roberto Bravo, interim president of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

“It will be a mixed-use space,” Bravo said. “That’s the plan for it. We will have rotating exhibits. We will have permanent exhibits to showcase some of the collections moving from Chicago.”

It will be primarily a research center.

“Behind the public part is a working facility for our collections and library department to process and accommodate all the requests we get from the members and researchers to use the assets that we have that are located mostly in the basement of this building,” Bravo said.

One of the first exhibits is a collection from Pulitzer-prize-winning cartoonist and World War II veteran Bill Mauldin.

“He was one of the first artists in that medium to really speak for the enlisted man,” said Dustin DePue, Director of Museum Collections. “He became very famous and very well-loved by veterans throughout the world.”