ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Military explosive specialists destroyed a World War II-era mortar round found at an Alaska museum after determining the munition was live.

The device was destroyed by detonating it at a safe place, said Capt. Brandon Browning of the 716th Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

A staff member found the Japanese mortar round last week while sorting through the collections vault at the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center in Haines, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.

When staff members could not confirm if the shell had been disarmed, the museum temporarily closed.

Explosives specialists from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage later determined the device was still live, the newspaper said.

The museum was considering using the shell in an upcoming exhibit featuring World War II battle art, but the item's donation paperwork did not indicate if it had been deactivated, said Helen Alten, the museum's director.

The 80mm shell did not have a detonator on top. Museum officials concluded the shell likely was disabled, but because they could not be sure, they notified police, Alten said.

The shell has been in the museum's possession for more than 20 years, Alten said. It was donated by a longtime Haines resident who was a World War II veteran.

Staff members worked out of a public library while the museum closed.

The museum’s new exhibit was scheduled to open Friday.

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