The Armed Forces History Museum set to close after financial problems

Largo museum costs $25,000 to run every month
Posted at 4:32 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 17:03:44-05

The Armed Forces History Museum, in Largo, is thousands of dollars in debt and set to close at the end of January.

It costs $25,000 to keep this 35,000 square foot museum operational, every month. A price the owners can no longer pay.

“We basically have to stop the bleeding," said Cindy Dion, the assistant executive director.

A former Marine, John Piazza Sr. started collecting military memorabilia 55 years ago. His passion for veterans and teaching history led to the museum’s opening in 2008. But when he died last month, his family struggled to maintain his legacy.

“It’s been a very, very tough decision for our family," said Steve Piazza, the late owner's son.

It was also tough for those who run it.

“It’s a beautiful place with so many memories that so many people benefit from," said Dion.

It's tough on the museum's average 25,000 annual visitors as well.

“This would be terrible to lose all these memories," said Vi Holman, a guest.

Dion said a big part of the problem is its location. You’ll find the warehouse hidden down an industrial street unseen from the main road.

“It is a little difficult to find, it’s a little secluded," agreed Dean Holman, a visitor.

As for the 100,000 artifacts and 50 operational vehicles, they’ll likely leave Largo and head to a bigger national museum like the Smithsonian. Nonetheless, the staff is feeling optimistic.

“We’re hoping, we are really hoping," said Dion.

They are hoping someone will step in and cover the monthly bill and save this piece of history. The museum can also be bought for $2.5 million dollars.