The Dream
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By Aaron Bouma

For many years I’ve had this dream. To build a military museum. But it wasn’t until later in my younger years that it was realized it could be achievable. How do you focus on your dreams? Are you satisfied with how you are pushing toward achieving your goals? Autistic persons often are put down from their dreams or are sometimes told their dreams are not realistic. I’ve had numerous barriers go in front of me, I’ve knocked them down. Some I still struggle with, but it’s not me that put them there. We are autistic people, living in a neurotypical world. But we as individuals push hard to knock down those barriers. Look at Austin Riley for example, an autistic race car driver that is trailblazing into history as one of the first if not the first autistic race car driver.

I’m Aaron Bouma, military historian for my area of Carleton County New Brunswick Canada, autism self advocate, and now owner curator of the Carleton County Military Museum.

In my other blog posts I’ve talked about how I got my love of military equipment and history. This blog will share how the museum came to be. A dream realized. In 2010 I had my 210 2010 model celebration, with celebrating building over 200 scratch built military models. That’s certainly when the encouragement started, with the idea for me to build a military museum.

With opening BOUMA Woodworks on July 12th, 2015, and showcasing my scratch built wooden military models that continued to improve, I was encouraged highly to build a military museum with the artifacts and models I’ve had even more so by friends and mentors.
In 2015 a major stepping stone was getting the M2 90mm Anti Aircraft gun from my hometown of Woodstock. That gun was built in 1942, which sits now in front of the museum now built.

Construction officially started in 2021, with the base. Then the concrete. The frame up done in May 2022, my brother and I mainly did it ourselves. But also had help from numerous friends in the community with Tyvek and building assembly. That was one of the biggest obstacles was getting this building made. But a great adventure it was. Also learned a lot about building structures, which is valuable. Justin Scott Carpentry & numerous others filled there time when they could, helping. The roof I had to hire a crew, my friends at Heritage Construction, which put the steel roof on. The Journey was of course stressful but rewarding. Day-to-day I struggle with juggling a lot of different things, and at that time it was no different. The spring and summer of 2023 I was dealing with the struggle of putting this siding on. It was hard to get volunteers, but that is a normal thing this day in age. Sometimes it would be just me going 18 feet above ground on a ladder to put panels up and nail them in. But it was a struggle worthwhile.

This product would not have been possible without the great donations from my community to make it possible in the timeline that I had planned. One of the ideas I got from a friend was that anybody that donated $100 to the museum got their name and or business name wood burned to the museum. That was an unbelievably successful campaign. That really made this project possible in the time I wanted to get the museum going. From the summer to the fall, it was crunch time. I picked a date to have it open by. Nov 4th, 2023. That date, I was successful. So much preparation in the weeks leading up to the date, had to completed. I had hired two guys to help me. They were not the greatest, but we got it done. So many people had helped make this vison a reality.

One of the first items to go into the museum where the flags, all the modern flags that were aligned with NATO countries and western countries were on one side others that were either aligned or not aligned or on the other side. All the modern flags were flush against the ceiling. All the historic flags from the first World War second world war, and Cold War replaced each on strings from left to right axis and allies. One string would be first for war. The second string would be second world war. The third string would be Cold War and the fourth string against the wall would be Canadian Forces flags, as well as UN and NATO flags.
The next thing would be some of my best, scratch built, models and artefacts of the first world war section and the second world war section including exhibits of vocal historic military units, such as the 3rd Field artillery regiment, also known as the Loyal company, the 67th Carleton light Infantry, 71st York regiment, and the Carleton & York regiment, North Shore Regiment. (All of these are local and New Brunswick units). That was anything from photographs, cap badges, helmets, shells, uniforms, bayonets, etc. With the donations of artifacts and onward, the museum has gotten even better since opening. But opening day would be hard to trump.

Opening day, I had anything from our current MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) & Minister of Education provincial government, as well as Member of Parliament Richard Bragdon, Federal Government. Our provincial Minister for Military Affairs, and even our former Premier and family, many veterans, friends, and family. Was an incredible day. To this day it is a continuous aspect of growth and modernization. My dream came true but expanded from many more donations since the opening day. Now is the planning of expansion. When do I start? That is still currently a work in progress.

I was persistent in my goals and my dream to get this museum running. The pictures I will be displaying in this blog are of opening day and more field trips to the museum since opening day.

Aaron Bouma

Thank you for your continued support. I am Military specialist for Carleton County New Brunswick Canada. As for my business BOUMA Woodworks I build military models from scratch, tanks, aircraft, warships, rifles and so much more. I am currently building a military museum for my area.

You can find me on Twitter @Canada566, Facebook @GeneralBouma @BOUMAWOODWORKS.

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