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Home Front Friday: Hand-Made Souvenirs

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Luzon, Philippines. From the Education Collection at The National WWII Museum.

In Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. Gift of Otto Toennies. From the Education Collection at The National WWII Museum.

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!

During World War II, soldiers sought to remember their experiences in many different ways. For many, it was the first time out of their home state and they were thrust into foreign lands all over the world.

Many servicemen and women took advantage of down-time between fighting and the post-war occupation to see the sights and experience cultures that would have been so foreign to them. The National WWII Museum’s collection contains a number of scrapbooks, images, letters home and souvenirs from these “soldier tourists.”

In looking through photographs and war memorabilia recently, we came across a hand-embroidered handkerchief that had “Souvenir of My Service” embroidered across the top and “Victory Philippines 1945.” More digging through the collection revealed a photograph of a scene in Luzon and a picture of a young corporal there as well.

Embroidery is a fairly simple yet beautiful craft that can be personalized for anything. As the map shows, it can commemorate your travels and personalized. Consider embroidering a memory from an upcoming trip of your own. Alternately, you can add embellishment to everyday items to make you feel like you are on vacation, such as in the pillowcase examples made by the soldier’s wife later in life.

Note: The people featured in this post were the author’s grandparents.  If you have stories and artifacts from your family members, dig around and see what neat things you discover! And join us on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 for a special webinar, Caring for Your Own WWII Collection with Museum Registrar and Assistant Director of Collections & Exhibits Toni Kiser.

Post by Lauren Handley, Education Programs Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

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