Charles Ray



Michigan Traveling Military Museum President Charles Ray helped found the museum in 2011. He has been collecting military memorabilia since 1985 and credits much of his expertise to the knowledge he has gained from fellow collectors.

His favorite part of working at MTMM is setting up the displays and chatting with people.

"I enjoy spreading the knowledge of history to people," Charles says. "By doing so, they learn more about their own family history."

In fact, that was the exact case for Charles himself. His favorite museum items came from his own grandfather, Pvt. Edward A. Harris.

MTMM houses the Edward A. Harris Medical Detachment of The American North Russian Expeditionary Forces grouping, chronicling the service of the Essexville veteran who proudly served his country in one of the most miserable and unforgiving campaigns of World War I.

Mel Smith



Michigan Traveling Military Museum Director Mel Smith helped found the museum in 2011. His experience as a military historian and collector of military artifacts since the late 1970s prepared him well in his role.

He enjoys meeting the many people who share the stories of their family members who served this country in various wars.

"I do this because I feel it is extremely important to preserve military history and honor our veterans' sacrifices," Mel says. "Our museum is very unusual in the fact we cover so many different areas of military artifacts. In our museum, veterans of all ranks are honored. We feel that every veteran's service is important, no matter if they are a private or a general."

The trust that family members put in MTMM when selling their treasured military items is not something he takes lightly.

Jon Dove


With us since museum started

Military collector and historian since the early 1980’s.   Obtained his first Japanese military sword at 16 years of age.

My favorite part of working at our museum is having the opportunity to interact with the different military veterans and their families. “I find it enjoyable to see the young people look first hand at the items that many of their family members used during the wars” 

I do not have a favorite museum item in particular but have a real passion for Japanese Samurai swords in general.  These swords have a great history related to them.

I believe the MTMM is the best option for preserving military memorabilia because of the special care given to displaying and preserving the relics we have in our collections.  Unlike many museums we are never under any financial hardship. We have the funds to insure the upmost security while keeping our items in a secure temperature controlled environment.   

As for advice to those considering where to entrust their family artifacts, please consider who will do the best job to preserve and display your cherished family items.  At the MTMM we feel all veterans’ items should be given equal care whether the serviceman was a private or a general.  Every service person played an important role in preserving our freedoms.

I pledge to make our exhibits both visually interesting and informative.

I have been married to a wonderful lady for 12 years and when I am not working  I enjoy farming, metal working, hunting, fishing, trapping and spending time in the outdoors. I also collect antique and pre WW2 Winchester lever action rifles.

Jay Strasz


Jay Strasz has been collecting and preserving Militaria items for over 20 years. What started off as a hobby has turned into a life-long passion for preserving the artifacts and stories of our Veterans.

“Both of my Grandfathers and all of my Great-Uncles served in the Army during WWII, so I have felt a draw towards its history my whole life”. Jay says. “Everyone played a part, one of my Grandfathers served as a mechanic on P38’s, the other served as an Ammunition Handler on an Anti-Aircraft gun in the Pacific, while a Great Uncle served in the Navy on the USS Nevada during bombing of Pearl Harbor ”.

“I enjoy digging into the history and learning the about these heroes from the Greatest Generation”. “There are so many diverse and interesting to stories to tell and I like to think I am doing a small part in keeping a record of that”

Jay takes great honor in creating displays to honor these Veterans and their artifacts. Jay’s favorite item is the Army Air Corps uniform of his is his Grandfather, Harry J. Strasz. “I have a picture of him wearing the jacket shortly after he met his future wife, my Grandmother”