The Kentucky-based foundation that operates Fort Knox’s Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor is planning a $35 million expansion of the museum.

The Patton Museum Foundation Inc. hopes to triple the museum’s display area and modernize exhibits at what is already one of the Army’s largest museums. The museum has 230 examples of armor from around the world, including tanks, half-tracks and other fighting vehicles, as well as weapons and military memorabilia.

The improvements the foundation hopes to make at the 53-year-old museum include three new buildings, an adjacent park and new restaurants. The plan calls for spending $5 million on new interactive exhibits and $2 million to enhance the museum’s Internet presence. Most of the donations are expected to come from corporations, museum officials told the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper.

Construction on the first of the new buildings is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2006, said Stephen McLean, executive director of the foundation.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a $250,000 appropriation for the museum to improve its Web site and some exhibits, said Mike Dodge, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis, R-Kentucky.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, attendance has dropped dramatically, museum officials told the Courier-Journal. However, military officers from around the world visit the museum to study its collections of weapons, said Charles Lemons, the museum’s curator.

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