Arlington has been selected as the site for the National Medal of Honor Museum.
The museum is planned for construction near Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium and is scheduled to open in 2024, the museum foundation announced Wednesday.
Arlington beat out Denver in the race to host the museum. The cities were judged by their size, location, number of visitors, support for the project, and patriotism, according to a written statement from the museum foundation. The National Medal of Honor Foundation expects roughly 5 million visitors each year.
“There’s a deep, historic support for those who have served that we found all throughout Texas,” Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, told the Star-Telegram. “It was really special to us seeing everything that has been done in the past and what is part of the DNA in the state.”
North Texas is home to 70 Medal of Honor recipients, according to the foundation, with nearly 1.8 million veterans and active duty military across the state. The U.S. has awarded 3,500 Medals of Honor.
The museum, expected to be between 120,000 and 150,000 square feet, will be home to permanent exhibits as well as rotating exhibitions. Once the site is selected, organizers will need to raise $150 million for the building.
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said taxpayers will not pay the bill. The money will be raised by donors and philanthropists from across the region.
“Here in Texas we have some great people who have a track record of giving and being generous on these kinds of projects,” Williams said.
Arlington plans place the museum in the entertainment district near Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium, on vacant land or parking lots on city-owned property under the control of the Texas Rangers.
Ownership of the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys played a role in selecting Arlington, Daniels said.
“Their support of the military is a huge factor,” he said. “They’re going to be our geographic neighbors, and it’s important to be able to look ownership in the eyes and see that authenticity.”
Williams said the project isn’t just exciting for Arlington but for the entire state.
“The real excitement lies with the fact that their mission is to educate our youth on character and integrity and courage and patriotism using the inspiring stories of the 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients,” Williams said. “It’s not just an opportunity for our schools to study this and take a field trip here, but also for Arlington to be a national platform for that mission.”
While the project is expected to take three to four years, Williams said he has hope it will be shorter.
“Our track record is we’re able to get things done quicker than anyone else,” he said.
Texas politicians joined in praising the decision to build the museum in Arlington.
Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement the museum was great news for Arlington, Texas and the rest of the nation.
Congressman Ron Wright, the Republican representing Arlington in Washington, said in a news release he applauds the decision to place the museum in Arlington. He said it’s a good fit.
“In Arlington, we celebrate patriotism, American ideals and our nation’s heroes,” he said in the release.
The city is expected to discuss the project Friday, when more than 100 Arlington school district students are expected to give a “patriotic welcome” to National Medal of Honor Foundation board members and visiting Medal of Honor recipients.