Michigan historical group plans Custer museum

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While the National Park Service in Montana struggles to find a way to build a new museum and visitor center at Little Bighorn Battlefield, an ambitious group in Monroe, Mich., is working toward establishing Lt. Col. George Custer's hometown as the center for all things Custer.

William H. Braunlich, president of the Monroe County Historical Society, said in a telephone interview that the project involves establishing a unit of the National Park Service in downtown Monroe called Custer National Monument and Museum.

It wouldn't involve large capital expenditure by the cash-strapped federal agency, he said. Instead it would transfer ownership of existing resources from the city of Monroe and Monroe County to the Park Service. Those resources would include a county museum, a world-renowned Custer collection and an annual payment of $200,000 for the first 10 years of operation.

One of the Park Service's newest units, the War of 1812 River Raisin National Battlefield Park and River Raisin Heritage Trail, was established in Monroe two years ago. The Historical Society envisions the Custer monument as a second unit of River Raisin....

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