Tomlinson was dressed in an Army uniform similar to the one worn by “Uncle Tommy,” his father’s brother who was in special operations in the Pacific theater during World War II.
His wife’s mother had worked on a B-17 bomber assembly line as a “Rosie the Riveter.” “As kids, we heard all these stories,” said the 56-year-old Tomlinson.
A year ago, he took out a second mortgage on his home to keep the museum afloat as he searched for solutions or a benefactor, but that money has now been spent and he says he must sell the house.
He set up a Go Fund Me account this fall, the last-ditch effort to raise 0,000 before the museum will be forced to shut down at the end of the year.
A 1940s-style “speakeasy” bar on the second floor offers themed cocktails and beer.
About four years ago, Tomlinson’s son Duke convinced the family that microbrewing beer might be the answer.
They’d say, ‘He never talked about it.’” The emotional connection veterans and their families felt with the tour led to their continual donation of artifacts that have built the museum into the sprawling affair it is today, all housed in Honolulu’s warehouse district in a building that long ago was a horse stable.And stories are the heart of the Home of the Brave museum; they are what has driven Tomlinson all these years.“That’s what makes this place so special; it’s the stories,” he said.But now the museum — and enterprises such as a brew pub meant to keep it solvent — is on the verge of collapse.
The revenue-generating tours ended a year ago, a victim of waning interest by younger tourists and changes to the tour-booking industry on Oahu, Tomlinson said.Much of it is “touch-feely,” as Tomlinson describes it, where anyone call crawl into a vintage jeep, straddle an Army-issued Harley motorcycle or man a machine gun. “An experiential museum.” But changing demographics have been the museum’s enemy.