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Make a Gift to the Museum that Gives More this #GivingTuesday

gt-facebook-1200x627For the second year in a row, the Museum will be participating in #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving, on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are days devoted to holiday shopping, Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving to celebrate and encourage charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations during the holiday season.  As a rapidly growing Museum with a mission of educating future generations on the American Experience during World War II, every bit helps us maintain our programming and facility as we expand.

This year, we are excited to announce that all donations made to the Museum on #GivingTuesday will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

This generous match has been made possible by Museum Trustee member, Michael S. Bylen of Rochester, Michigan, founder of Golf Concepts.

There are more ways to make your gift to the Museum count even more too! Check to see if your employer offers a matching program that will again double your gift to the Museum on #GivingTuesday. Learn to see if your employer participates in Double the Donation here: http://doublethedonation.com/giving-tuesday/

So mark your calendars for #GivingTuesday this December 2, and join us in our effort to preserve the memories of WWII.  It is with your help that we can continue to collect and maintain the stories of WWII to educate future generations.

 

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“Try to have faith in the future” – High School Life at Rohwer War Relocation Center

At first glance, the pages of the 1944 Résumé yearbook make Rohwer Center High School seem like any other high school on the Home Front, rich with student life, activities, victory gardens, and dances. In reality, however, the experience of Rohwer Center students couldn’t have been more different. The school, located at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in McGehee, Arkansas, was created to educate the children of Japanese American descent who were forced from their homes along the West Coast of the United States and required to live behind barbed wire for the duration of WWII, far from the homes they knew. Located in remote areas of the country, these camps were modeled after military facilities: tar-paper barracks, central latrines and washrooms, mess halls, and recreation halls. Guard towers and barbed wire were everyday features of the lives of these Americans.The majority of those incarcerated at Rohwer came from California, from both rural and heavily populated urban areas like Los Angeles. Most were not used to the climate; inmates were subjected to heavy rains, extreme heat and humidity in the summertime, and poisonous snakes.

Rohwer became home to approximately 2,000 school-age children, who attended classes within the confines of the camp. While these students were able to participate in sports and other activities, their forced confinement meant they did not get the same opportunities as students who lived beyond the barbed wire. Basketball and football teams, for example, had to play all games within the camp, unable to travel to their rival schools. Teachers were made up of both inmates and white teachers from outside communities, paying inmates just a fraction of the salary teachers from the outside were paid for doing the same job.

In 1943, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) began requiring all adults to take a loyalty questionnaire, forcing them to answer questions about their willingness to fight for the United States military and deny any allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. Those who refused or answered in ways that were deemed disloyal were transferred to the Tule Lake Segregation Center, once again uprooting families and punishing inmates without due process.

Rohwer War Relocation Center was one of the last camps to close, shuttering its doors on November 30, 1945.

Roughly 120,000 men, women and children were held without trials, and nearly 70,000 of those evicted were American citizens. Ultimately, not a single Japanese American person was ever convicted of espionage or acts of sabotage against the United States. Learn more on this topic and on the special exhibit presented by The Museum, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII, a traveling version of which is currently in development. From Barbed Wire to Battlefields featured the Rohwer High School yearbook and it can be viewed in its entirety on the companion site as well as on our site devoted to high school yearbooks of WWII, See You Next Year!

Posted by Curator Kimberly Guise and Assistant Director of Education for Curriculum Gemma Birnbaum

Home Front Friday: Thanskgiving

Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Thanksgiving is an American holiday cherished now and during the 1940s. On the battle front, the decision was made to provide a turkey dinner for all troops in the ETO for Thanksgiving in 1944. To do this, the fresh meat ration had to be cut. It was estimated that a holiday-sized portion equaled three normal meat meals, and poultry took up even more space. Nevertheless, the commitment to provide turkey to all the troops on the Continent had been made in September. The general opinion was that, irrespective of the morale value of a holiday meal, failure to meet a widely publicized commitment would have a very unfavorable effect. By Thanksgiving, fresh fruit, vegetables and over 1.6 tons of turkey had been distributed to troops. The trucks of the mobile bakery companies also helped get the meal out. Some of the combat troops did not receive the special ration until one or two days after Thanksgiving, but it was generally considered a notable feat of distribution under great difficulties.

 

For more images of Thanksgiving during wartime look in the Museum’s Digital Collection.

On the Home Front, Thanksgiving was a tradition worth preserving, even during times of rationing. Many magazines and pamphlets encouraged making pies with molasses, stretching meat rations, and doing other things to create a feast while the nation was at war. In 1943, Norman Rockwell’s famous photo of a bountiful Thanksgiving representing one of the Four Freedoms was released. For Freedom of Want he took pictures from his own family’s Thanksgiving. Rockwell’s mom actually made the painting. The woman placing the turkey is the Rockwell family’s cook, Mrs. Thaddeus. He later thought that the painting flaunted over abundance.

Today, there is no rationing and no substitutions necessary, except if you desire to, but the enduring image of a family gathered and excited over a huge turkey is still etched in all of our minds. Enjoy your feasts wherever you are!

Posted by Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

Donor Spotlight: Jamey and Judy Clement

As the Museum is just weeks away from the opening of our newest exhibition pavilion, Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters, we turn our donor spotlight on the generous supporters who contributed to our Road to Victory Capital Campaign over the years, pushing us closer to our $325 million goal!

Jamey and Judy Clement of Dallas, TX have been proud supporters of the National WWII Museum since 2012. Their first experience with the Museum was through their friend Walter Negley who became part of the Museum family after Hurricane Katrina. Walter invited Jamey to the grand opening ceremonies of the Solomon Victory Theater complex and the premiere of the Museum’s signature attraction Beyond all Boundaries, the award-winning 4-D film featuring Tom Hanks. It was then that the Clements got their first taste of the very special nature of this Museum, and they have since been back to New Orleans many times to visit.

Jamey's Uncle, John Larkin, in Benghazi

Judy’s father, George Beggs III, in Benghazi

Both Jamey and Judy come from very patriotic families. Each of their fathers served in WWII, as did Jamey’s uncle. Jamey’s father, Jim Clement, was a member of the 107th Artillery of the 28th Division of Pennsylvania National Guard. He and his unit followed the D-Day invasion landing eight weeks later moving through the French countryside until he was injured and returned home. Judy’s father, George Beggs III, was in the air corps in Benghazi, servicing airplanes for the Italian Campaign. Jamey’s uncle, John Larkin, was a forward observer in Germany, and was unfortunately killed in Dortmund, Germany scarcely a month before the end of the war.

Jamey’s two sons are also in the military. One is a 2nd Lt in the USMC Reserves after completing a tour in Afghanistan with the 2/7 Marines and the other is an aviator and a Captain in the Marines. Jamey states that “any interest I have in WWII and the military history was heightened by their enlisting and willingness to serve.”

Jamey’s grandfather, Martin W. Clement, was the 11th President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and was responsible for improving troop movements in the US. By the end of WWII, the Pennsylvania Railroad controlled more than 20 percent of American passenger traffic and 11 percent of freight traffic, making it a significant hub for the transportation of American troops and production.

Jamey notes that his father did not discuss the war very much when he was growing up. Before his death in 1994, Jamey asked his father to write down his experience in the war so that there would be some documentation of his time spent in France. It was the content of Jim Clement’s three-page letter describing his experiences after D-Day that sparked the Clements to name the “From Normandy to Berlin” exhibit in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion.

Jamey's Father, Jim Clement in France

Jamey’s Father, Jim Clement in France

My beautiful picture

Jamey’s son re-enacting his Grandfather’s photo

Jamey’s fondest memory of his time with the Museum was the recent 70th anniversary D-Day cruise. He said that not only was the trip professionally organized but, on the last day, a Museum guide used the letter from his father to take the Clement family on a journey following his father’s footprints. The Clements blazed a trail through Normandy, retracing the steps of Jim’s unit from the Beaches to Gathemo, the hill on which the guide believed Jim was injured. Jamey states that it was an incredibly special experience to share with his family.

Jamey and Judy cite the reason that they give to the Museum is the superior quality and professionalism of the staff and campus. In addition to the many conversations with Hugh Ambrose concerning the mission of the Museum, Jamey stated that “all [his] encounters have been first rate, not to mention the people…the list is really too long. It goes from [President] Nick to Stephen Watson to the entire staff (e.g Mike Carroll, Peter Boese, Karen Wibrew, Molly Bergeron, Carrie Corbet, et. Al) , the speakers on the [Normandy] trip, to the few Board members I’ve met…they are all generally good people and a pleasure to be around.”

The Museum is exceptionally grateful for the commitment and generosity of Judy and Jamey Clement in helping the Museum complete our Road to Victory.

How to Give a Gift that Gives More This Holiday Season

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The holiday season is right around the corner. Why not give a gift that gives back?

From small gifts to large ones, every purchase supports The National WWII Museum’s mission of educating future generations on the war that changed the world. Show your support and find a unique gift for your loved ones that will truly get them excited this holiday season!

 

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Looking for the perfect gift and a way to give? From best-selling history books and DVD to WWII collectibles, vintage toys and 1940s style apparel, our Museum Store has a variety of options for all your gift buying needs. Free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

Shop for Gifts in Our Store Now

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As a Member of The National WWII Museum, you can permanently honor your loved one’s service and sacrifice during World War II. Whether fighting on the front lines or helping here at home, honor the legacy left by those courageous men and women. Membership includes free admission to the Museum, discounts at our store and access to members-only events.

Give a Museum Membership Now

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Our courageous veterans laid the path for victory and freedom – now you can add their names to our path of honor. A commemorative brick is the perfect way to show appreciation for your family’s hero with permanent tribute on our Museum campus in New Orleans. Order your personalized brick by December 31, 2014 and your brick will be installed in the next wave of installations. Choose from our classic Road to Victory bricks or a limited-edition Campaigns of Courage brick.

Give the Gift of Honor Now

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With your gift you will receive a permanent plaque on the armrest of your seat in the Solomon Victory Theater, where hundreds of thousands of visitors watch Beyond All Boundaries each year. Your donation will support the construction of our new buildings and exhibits, ensuring that we tell the complete story of the American experience in the war that changed the world.

Name a Theater Seat this Holiday Season

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This is the perfect gift for a history buff. Explore our extensive collection of artifacts not on view to the general public in the vault, climb inside a Sherman Tank and have lunch with a Museum curator in our private dining rooms. This tour also includes a docent-led tour of the Museum galleries and the Kushner Restoration Pavilion where boat builders are actively restoring a WWII PT boat.

Surprise Your History Buff with a Behind The Lines Tour Now

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Give the trip of a lifetime. The National WWII Museum offers unique travel experiences taking groups across the globe to where history was made more than 70 years ago. Venture to the beaches of Normandy, follow in the footsteps of the Band of Brothers across 7 countries, honor America’s Bomber Boys in England, or give your student a lesson in leadership this summer while earning college credit. Any of these tours are the perfect gift to help your history buff complete the adventures on his or her bucket list!

Learn about the Museum’s Tours that are Perfect for Your History Buff

 

SciTech Tuesday: So a General, a Major, and a Communist from Berkeley walk out in the desert…

In November 1942, a General, a Major, and a Communist from Berkeley walked into the desert…And they came out with a plan to make a facility that would build the first nuclear bombs.

It was fall of 1942, and the Manhattan Project had already become the biggest science and engineering project in US History. It would eventually cost $2 billion in contemporary dollars (about 26 billion today) and employ about 130,000 people. But it had not grown to its full extent yet, and it needed sites and facilities. Research at UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago would continue, but other projects were too dangerous or too secret to take place in cities on university campuses.

General Leslie Groves had spent his last several years overseeing the construction of the Pentagon. Although he did an excellent job, he found it exhausting, and was hoping for what he considered the relative peace of war duty as a next assignment. Instead he was given the reins of the Manhattan Project.

Groves knew his first step should be to find a director of the scientific project—someone to lead and oversee all the scientific and technological aspects of the work. His choice was Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist whose friends and relatives (and wife!) were all members of the Communist Party. Groves found strong resistance from military security, and further concerns that all these Nobel scientists would be led by someone without such distinction. Groves argued that Oppenheimer was a genius who could understand all aspects of the project, that all the other possibilities were occupied on their own projects, and that the Manhattan Project had a bad reputation, limiting the pool of interested parties.

Groves is now considered a genius for choosing Oppenheimer, but at the time the opinion weighed more on the side of crazy. Groves and Oppenheimer met with Vannevar Bush in Washington DC, and the appointment was made.

In October, work had begun to build a huge facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee to enrich Uranium using a gaseous separation process. Land had been purchased in June to build a facility in Illinois to produce Plutonium. Delays in construction of the Illinois facility led to Fermi’s work under the University of Chicago football field. The success of that experiment convinced authorities to build a lab that later relocated a short distance to become Argonne National Laboratories. Another production facility for plutonium would be built in central Washington on the banks of the Columbia River in January of 1943. It later became Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Other sites, smaller and spread throughout the country and Canada, were developed as well.

There remained the need for a facility where the actual construction of the working bombs would take place. Oppenheimer had a country home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and loved the high and dry desert of northern New Mexico. Nothing could be more remote, and thus secure, and he believed the beauty of the landscape would inspire the scientists brought there. He suggested the region as a possible site to General Groves. The two men visited it with Major John Dudley, a surveyor. The purchase of the site was approved before the end of November 1942, and after spending $7 million the site of almost 50,000 acres was completed in November of 1943.

This would become the site where Otto Frisch almost caused a meltdown with stacks of Uranium bricks. It was where the three bombs, one tested at Trinity, and two deployed over Japan, were designed and built. It was where Richard Feynman went out dancing and drumming at night, causing rumors that an Indian spirit haunted the hills. Argonne, Hanford, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge remain as important government research and military facilities, but Los Alamos remains the most isolated of them.

Check out our new special exhibit, Manufacturing Victory, where you can see that Manhattan Project Patch and many other cool artifacts from the Home Front, where folks made all the stuff we used to win the war.

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

#myww2stuff- Submit your preservation conundrums!

What WWII stuff do you have in your attic?

What WWII stuff do you have in your attic? Pictured: Field jacket & dog tags from the collection of The National WWII Museum

With the holiday season upon us, it only means that 2015 is right around the corner. With a new year, comes new resolutions, and you might find yourself cleaning out spaces usually ignored during the rest of the year, such as back recesses of closets and attics. You might come across some keepsakes of your relatives, including mementos, letters, uniforms, and photographs from WWII. With 16 million men and women in uniform in WWII, and millions more doing their part on the Home Front, inheriting important  wartime pieces of our parents and grandparents lives is a common occurrence. Not sure how to preserve these items for future family members and generations? Well the Education and Collections staff at the Museum are here to help!

Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re taking proper care of these fragile materials, now 70 years old or older:

1. Submit a picture or conservation question about your wartime keepsake with a post on the Museum’s Facebook Wall or tag @WWIIMuseum on Twitter or Instagram pages using the hashtag #myww2stuff. 

2. Tune into our Adult Learning Webinar, Caring for Your Own WWII Collection  on January 14th. Museum Registrar and Assistant Director of Collections and Exhibits Toni Kiser  will share common preservation techniques and answer your specific submitted questions. Can’t watch the live program? All registrants will receive a recording to view at their own convenience.

Register today and don’t forget to send questions and pictures our way with the hashtag #myww2stuff!

Post by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator

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Whitewashing the Road to Berlin Opel

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Opel Staff Car in Road to Berlin exhibit before winter camouflaging.

Camouflage was a critical means of survival during World War II and as seasons changed and armies moved from theater to theater staying camouflage became a problem for many armies. During winter this was particularly an issue; vehicles painted green, grey, tan, brown, or black in a variety of patterns stood out in the white snows of Europe.  As soon as the snow melted the newly-painted white tank would stick out even more and require another coat of paint. This resulted in a number of temporary solutions being invented. Bed sheets and other white linens could be used to make vehicle covers and ponchos for men, but this meant trying to acquire large quantities of linens which proved to be difficult in combat zones.

Instead a simple solution was devised and used by nearly every army fighting in Europe, from the Finns in the north to the Russians in the East and the Americans and Germans in the west. Lime, easily acquired by burning limestone, was mixed with water to make whitewash. Whitewash was similar to plaster and was popular throughout the western world for painting exterior structures like fences. The wash was quickly daubed all over vehicles and after drying the car or tank would appear to be painted in white camouflage. The true genius of this solution was that when winter ended the vehicle did not require repainting. The mixture dissolved when rained on, and the white coat washed away to reveal the vehicle’s original color. This process saved a huge amount of time and resources; the whitewash could be applied in minutes and after washing away did not require the vehicle to be repainted when the weather warmed up.

The National WWII Museum’s Road to Berlin Gallery will feature such a whitewashed vehicle in our Battle of the Bulge exhibit. An Opel 6, painted in a brown and tan pattern, was chosen to illustrate the desperate state of the Nazi German mechanization during the war. Despite popular perceptions of the Nazi military as a highly modernized and mechanized force, vehicles were always in short supply. Civilian vehicles were often used to fill in as staff cars, ambulances, and courtier vehicles, including this Opel luxury sedan. This vehicle was whitewashed by Museum curators to demonstrate the technique used by soldiers throughout the war. The addition of blackout slits painted onto the vehicle’s headlights and branches to the top of the car would have made it nearly invisible from both the air and the ground.

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Opel Staff Car in Road to Berlin exhibit as it will appear to visitors in winter camouflage.

This WWII camouflaging technique even has its benefits for this artifact. If the Opel is taken off of exhibit and needed elsewhere, the white color of the vehicle can easily be washed away. The entire process, takes only 20 minutes in addition to drying time. When the whitewash is first applied, it appears clear, but as it dries it becomes almost-solid white. The underlying camouflage pattern is scarcely visible, and helps to further break up the outline of the car. Simple modifications or additions such as this whitewashing are often used by museum staff to better illustrate conditions on the ground during the war. Visitors to the Museum will be able to see this staff car and learn more about the war in Europe in our new exhibit The Road to Berlin opening December 13th, 2014.

 

 

Post by Brandon Stephens, Curator at The National WWII Museum.

“Irish” Mike Casey vs. Bolo Bataan

Pro Wrestling

On this date 70 years ago, members of the 143 Field Artillery Regiment at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawā, Hawaii were entertained by “5 Big Bouts” of professional wrestling action.  Included on the card that evening were matches between clear-cut “faces” (pro wrestling good guys), as evidenced by the service branch prefixes in their names, and menacing, identifiably-foreign-sounding “heels” (pro wrestling villains).  Thus, in a contest between “Soldier” Axel Madsen and “The Bad Greek” Harry Dellis or “Irish” Mike Casey and Bolo Bataan, there would be no question as to which competitor the troops should be cheering for.  Pro wrestling proved a popular attraction at military bases and posts throughout WWII, with matches like this taking place at Schofield Barracks on a tri-weekly basis; the card shown here being the 31st in the series.

This post by Collin Makamson, Family Programs & Outreach Coordinator @ The National WWII Museum

Messerschmitt Bf-109 Update!

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On our journey through the Road to Berlin, we highlighted the German Messerschmitt Bf-109, the most produced fighter aircraft in history. In celebration of Veterans Day this week, the Museum is proud to announce that the Messerschmitt has now been generously sponsored by WWII Veteran Paul Hilliard and his wife, Madlyn. Their name will be proudly displayed by the warbird in honor of their continual generosity. The Museum would not be where we are today without the Hilliard’s dedication.

 

Madlyn and Paul Hilliard

The National WWII Museum is fortunate that Madlyn and Paul Hilliard have shared their intense interest and love of what the Museum is doing through their generous commitment to The Road to Victory Capital Campaign. Paul is a World War II veteran who flew his missions overseas in a SBD Dauntless aircraft, and he has made it his mission that “as part of the Museum’s evolution we would acquire all of the weapons of war.” He believes that the ME-109 is a vital part of the air war story in the European Theater.

Paul and Madlyn have played a large role in assisting the Museum acquire and restore several of our iconic warbirds and macro artifacts. They both feel passionately that seeing these artifacts up close is “different than seeing them on TV or in simulation.” Madlyn is always impressed by the faces of the children “so focused and interested in what they are seeing. They do not get this in a classroom, and it is so meaningful for all visitors to learn the price of freedom for our country.”

Paul believes that the acquisition of enemy weapons and artifacts, like the Messerschmitt, is important in explaining the various sides of war. By exhibiting weapons used by the Axis enemies, it better clarifies the weaponry the Allied forces built and employed in response, in order to defeat the enemy.

They Hilliards have felt encouraged to see how we have grown to where we are now in 2014. We feel privileged that they have played a major role in telling the story of “what this country can do when you threaten the liberty of Americans.” They feel that being part of the Museum family has been a wonderful experience that they “wouldn’t trade it for anything.”