The Holidays are here, and whether you want to give to others or just give back, The National WWII Museum offers a variety of gifts that always support the mission and educational efforts of the Museum. Show your gratitude and find a unique gift for your loved ones that will truly get them excited this holiday season!
Looking for the perfect gift? The National WWII Museum Store has gifts to spread holiday cheer for him, her, the kids, and the home! All proceeds from purchases made through the Museum Store fund the continuing educational mission of The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Order by 12:00 p.m. CST on December 21 for delivery by Christmas Day. Enjoy free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
From bestselling history books and DVDs to WWII collectibles and unique accessories like lapels and cufflinks, The National WWII Museum is chock full of gifts for the history buff in your life. During World War II, the Zippo windproof lighter was dubbed the GI’s friend. Get the WWII aficionado you know this commemorative Zippo D-Day Lighter Gift Set, that pays tribute to one of the boldest military operations in history. Included in the set is an authentic Acme Cricket, a hand-held clicker used to transmit coded signals to Allied troops during the D-Day invasion.
The war-era fashions were timeless and continue to impress. Consider getting your sweetheart a staple for her wardrobe from 1940s inspired clothes and accessories. The National WWII Museum Store carries are variety of these classic looks from dresses, skirts, purses, and exclusive accessories from local New Orleans treasure, Mignon Faget! This exceptional, bronze Propeller Cuff Bracelet, exclusively designed by Mignon Faget for The National WWII Museum, is sure to attract attention. Its subtle propeller design is perfect for the aviation lover in your life!
There’s just something about classic toys that today’s play things just don’t have. Introduce your kids to those nostalgic toys you had growing up with array of Retro Toys available in The National WWII Museum Store like slinkies, marbles, and train sets. One game bound to take the kids back in is our spin on the classic game Monopoly. Wheel and deal with WWII events such as Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and the Battle of the Bulge in an effort to own these momentous pieces of history. Build support and rally the troops as you establish camps and headquarters on your way to victory when you play America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together, a WWII Edition of America’s favorite game, MONOPOLY ™!
World War II touched every aspect of life, and those stories have been written about extensively by bestselling authors. Give the bookworm in your life a new book took crack. The National WWII Museum Store sells more than 35 titles signed by their authors and hundreds more books on the topic of World War II. Shop signed books now!
Even the home can get a gift this holiday season! Fit your home or a friend’s with retro decor and ornaments. This classic Kit-Cat Clock is a gift that will surely bring a laugh and a smile. Since the mid 1930s—in the midst of the Great Depression—the Kit-Cat Clock has been inspiring hope and entertaining the world with his rolling eyes and wagging tail.
Give a gift to the Museum that goes directly to honoring our nation’s WWII veterans. Started in 2010, $10 For Them allows us to offer free admission for WWII veterans and to continue building our collection of personal accounts of World War II. Show your gratitude to these courageous Americans with a small donation to ensure they can continue to see their nation’s tribute and have their stories preserved.
Honor your hero this holiday season. Our courageous veterans forged 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 Tribute Brick Order your Tribute Brick by December 11th to receive your certificate in time for the holidays. All orders made by December 31st will be included in our 2016 campus install.
Museum Memberships are a gift one can enjoy all year! It takes more than a day to take in everything the Museum has to offer, and as a member of The National WWII Museum, you will receive free admission to the Museum for a year and invitations to members-only events. Along with discounts at our store, a gift membership to the Museum is definitely a gift that gives more.
A good part of the development of aircraft in World War II was driven by advancements in the internal combustion engine in the two decades after World War I.
Engineers worked on plans and designs and working internal combustion engines throughout the 1800s, but that century was largely dominated by steam engines.
Steam engines use expanding water vapor to turn turbines, which were connected to mechanical devices to power trains, manufacturing machines, and other mechanical devices. Steam power is still used today in most electrical generating plants, which use nuclear power, coal, oil, or natural gas to make steam. Steam is also often used in large ships.
The internal combustion engine uses a controlled explosion in a chamber to create expanding gases, which move a piston in a cylinder. The first reliable internal combustion engines were designed by engineers (whose recognizable names included Diesel, Daimler, and Benz) in the 1880s. In the early 1900s automobiles became the focus of internal combustion engine development.
As the world powers on either side of the conflict began readying for World War II, pressure grew to devise engines powerful and light for aviation. The development of these engines took two basic paths—linear, liquid cooled engines like the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Licensed to Packard, this engine powered the P-51 Mustang. The other path was air-cooled rotary engines.
Pratt & Whitney developed the Twin Wasp engine in 1930, and it powered the first trans-Pacific commercial flights when Pan American opened them in 1935. This engine had two rows of 7 cylinders each arranged in two rings. The first Twin Wasp had 800 hp, but later models had improvements that led to up to 1,200 hp. The Twin Wasp was used in the DC-3, its military counterpart the C-47 Skytrain, and the B-24 Liberator. Probably the most-produced large engine in history, about 173,000 Twin Wasps were made in the WWII era.
From the Twin Wasp Pratt & Whitney developed the Double Wasp, which had 18 cylinders and up to 2,400 hp. This engine was used in the F4U Corsair, the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the F6F Hellcat. During the war about 125,000 of these engines were produced.
To increase the power of an internal combustion engine, you can increase its displacement (the internal volume of the engine) by increasing the number of cylinders or the size of the cylinders. This is, for example, why you would expect more power from a car with an 8 cylinder 4.7 liter engine than one with a 4 cylinder 1.8 liter engine. Another way to increase the power from an engine is to more efficiently achieve combustion by coordinating the timing and volume of air (which contains the oxygen the explosion needs), fuel, and the spark which creates ignition.
Above 16,000 feet in altitude, air is thin enough that it is a challenge for internal combustion engines. Engineers matched this challenge by using technologies still used in internal combustion engines today—superchargers and turbosuperchargers.
Superchargers force air into the engine with a fan or turbine. A simple supercharger uses the engine to power the turbine by a belt or some other mechanism. A challenge for aviation supercharging is that a supercharger that works well at very high altitudes might blow out the engine by forcing in too much air at lower altitudes. Thus engineers used two-stage superchargers—a single supercharger to work all the time, and an additional one that the pilot switched on, or that automatically came on, at higher altitudes.
A turbocharger works similarly, but often more efficiently, by using exhaust to power a turbine. The supercharger takes some power away from the engine, while adding even more. A turbocharger works on waste energy and thus takes no power from the engine. Also, because the exhaust air is still expanding, it moves the turbine very effectively. A disadvantage of the turbocharger’s use in WWII aircraft were that it used a lot of tubing to capture exhaust and force air, and that the high temperatures of the exhaust on the turbine required special materials. There is also a lag between turbocharging effectiveness and need, since it uses exhaust.
Combinations of multistage supercharging and turbocharging were used in all American aircraft in WWII.
Jet and turboprop technology were under development during WWII. German aircraft using jet engines, and in mid-to-late 1944 British (Gloster Meteor) American (P-80) and German (eg. He 162, Me 262) planes were used. These planes were small in numbers and had limited impact on the war. The German V-1 also used a jet engine.
After the war jet and turboprop technology dominated military aircraft development.
Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.
Images are from the collection of the National WWII Museum
The Grumman F6F Hellcat used a Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp engine.
A line of Vought F4U Corsairs rest on a carrier in the Pacific Ocean. The Corsair was powered by the Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp. There is a Corsair on exhibit in the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: Boeing Center at the NWWII Museum.
A B-24 Liberator, with 4 Twin Wasp engines flies on a mission. The NWWII Museum has a B-24 fuselage and an isolated Twin Wasp Engine on exhibit in the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: Boeing Center.
In 2018, as The National WWII Museum seeks to continue our immersive journey through all stories of World War II, the Museum will open the doors of the exceptional Liberation Pavilion. The pavilion will include three building levels that will span the closing months of the war and immediate postwar years, concluding with an explanation of links to our lives today. The first floor, Liberation, will provide visitors with opportunities to contemplate the joys, costs, and meaning of liberation and freedom. The second level, Victory, recalls the celebrations that followed the war’s end and the transition from war to peace. The third floor, Fruits of Victory, focuses on the present, drawing connections between World War II and its profound meaning for our world today.
Donor Spotlight: Pam and Mark Rubin
One of the most significant features of the upcoming Liberation Pavilion will be the Liberation Theater, made possible through a generous gift by Mark and Pam Rubin.
Pam and Mark, who will be celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary this year, met on a blind date set up by mutual friends. Not wanting to “waste” a Saturday night on a date that could be a flop, Pam agreed to see Mark at a Sunday brunch at their friends home, where he was dropping by before rushing off to a reception. After meeting Pam, Mark never made it to the reception! It was a whirlwind romance and they married only eight months after that first meeting. They have three children and, now, four grandchildren.
Pam and Mark Rubin
The Rubin’s first became involved with The National WWII Museum even before its inception at the celebration of Medal of Honor recipients held in Riverside, CA. Pam and Mark were guest of the Ray Ohrbach, then Chancellor of the University of California Riverside. While at an event the next day, the Rubin’s met Museum founder Stephen Ambrose, who sparked their interest.
The Rubin’s attended the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center in January 2013, where Mark was approached by trustees, Gov. Wilson and Ted Weggeland to become a trustee of the Museum. Mark gladly accepted. Later that year, the Rubin’s made an exceptional gift to sponsor the Liberation Theater to be featured in the monumental Liberation Pavilion that will begin construction next year. The Theater will be a specially-designed space, 1650 square feet, with seating to accommodate approximately 75 people. A commissioned film, presented in a looped format, will celebrate liberation and mourn the sacrifice and suffering of the soldiers and the Holocaust survivors. The film will show Museum visitors that the ultimate victory and liberation of thousands of people were worth fighting for and come away with the of hope for a peaceful future.
The sponsorship of the Theater is near to the Rubin’s’ hearts, due to the fact that Mark is a Holocaust survivor. Born in Czechoslovakia, Mark spent his early childhood in hiding with his family. He states “we were like bounty, my mother, brother and me. My father was in a different hiding place…so not to all get captured at the same time.” The daughter of the family who was hiding the Rubin family turned them in to the Gestapo for a reward. His father was captured the day before. The family was sent first to Sered, a transit camp, after which Mark’s father was able to bribe the Nazi officer to have he family sent to Terezin or Terezenstadt (north of Prague) which at that time had become a “model” Red Cross camp. The German’s had invited to Red Cross to inspect this camp to prove that Jews were not systematically being murdered, but were just isolated from the general population. The family spent 4 days traveling across the country in a cattle car. Though Mark was only seven years old at the time, he says, “you become an adult very quickly.” While in the camp, he had no knowledge of what was happening in the war. In April, 1944 Terezin was liberated by the Russian forces after the fall of Berlin. When Terezin was liberated, 35,000 children had been there during the war — only 100 survived. Mark, his brother, and his two cousins were 4% of the child survivors.
After liberation Mark and his family first settled in Bratislava, now the capital of Slovakia and then in Presov in the eastern part of Czechoslovakia. When it became apparent that Communism was threatening the livelihood of the Rubin family, they requested and received visas to come to the United States. They arrived on March 18, 1948 in New York.
Pam believes that supporting The National WWII Museum is important, not only to preserve the American experience in the war, but because “if not for the second world war, [Mark and I] would never have met. This is our place…all the happenings of that time in history created the opportunity for us to meet.” Pam’s parents married in 1940 and, in order to avoid the draft, quickly had a child. Unfortunately, Pam’s father was still drafted soon after her birth, and was sent to England for the remainder of the war. He did return safely in late 1945.
This connection, Pam’s family in the service and Mark’s family surviving the terrors of the Holocaust, has forged a lifelong bond between the two. This bond, and the hopes of “keeping this time in history alive,” has inspired them to support the Museum. Mark notes that “the work that this Museum does, and what it stands for…couldn’t be a better way to preserve that time in history. ” Pam believes that supporting the Museum’s education mission “is very important for todays young people and for all future generations,” and that the Museum is essential “for the people of our generation who were directly affected by the war.” She states, “we were victorious and it changed the world. It was fate for Mark and I to be a part of that time, and it should always have a place in world history.”
With their heartfelt and leadership support, Pam and Mark Rubin make sure that it does. We are grateful for their commitment to The National WWII Museum as it advances our journey along the Road to Victory.
“The boys and girls of America can perform a great patriotic service for their country by helping our National Salvage effort. Millions of young Americans, turning their energies to collecting all sorts of scrap metals, rubber, and rags, can help the tide in our ever-increasing war effort.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
Wanted for Victory: Waste paper, Old Rags, Scrap Metal, Old Rubber
During World War II, American students were encouraged to take a share in aiding the war effort. Whether rationing food in short supply, growing a Victory Garden in their backyards, buying war stamps with spare change, and even criss-crossing their towns and communities to collect scrap. To students today, some of these activities might appear a little strange on the surface — Why did you recycle bacon grease? What is a bond and how did it pay for the war? How could all of that metal junk be used? They can answer these questions by investigating primary source artifacts, to understand how students like them made a difference and to make connections with the past by seeing themselves in it.
One great artifact to demonstrate how the country truly relied on the efforts of students is the ‘Get in the Scrap’ school salvage plan. Opening with the remarks of President Roosevelt above and by calling students ‘America’s Junior Army’ reinforced that the efforts of kids and teens were essential. Students were apart of the “Third Front. . . whose chief duty is to comb the entire Nation for the scrap materials that are absolutely necessary to keep our factories running– absolutely necessary for Victory.”
The pamphlet outlines a detailed plan to get school districts, administrators, teachers, and students involved; each an important cog in the machine to collect millions of tons of scrap. It also displays handy diagrams on how small household goods can be transformed into necessary items for the war. Explore some pages of the pamphlet below:
1 old copper kettle will provide the copper required to produce 84 rounds of ammunition for an automatic rifle
Wanted for Victory: Waste paper, Old Rags, Scrap Metal, Old Rubber
Teachers, feel inspired by what you see?
Your students can make a difference like students growing up in WWII by joining our Get in the Scrap! service learning program. With the support of the Museum and an easy-to-implement project toolkit, your students can complete fun and simple conservation and recycling activities that can translate into big results. Your school can even earn prizes by completing as many activities as possible before the end of the school year. Participation is easy by signing up at getinthescrap.org. More details to come!
Post by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator
Devastation of Nagasaki Industrial Factory District by Second Atomic Bomb on Japanese on 22 September 1945
As we come to the end of the our journey on the Road to Tokyo, we take a look at the final two exhibits within the Downfall gallery, which will examine the last ghastly months of war and the controversial military decisions that led to ultimate allied victory.
Dropping the Bomb
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9. The unprecedented devastation these bombs caused brought the war to a sudden climax. This exhibit will cover the immediate effects of the bombs as well as introduce visitors to the unending debate over the morality of using these new and terrifying weapons.
Experiencing the horror caused by the atomic bombs and faced with the additional threat posed by the Soviet declaration of war on August 8, Emperor Hirohito conceded defeat. The Japanese government agreed to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration issued by Allies, and victory over Japan was secured aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. This exhibit will cover these final events that brought World War II to a close.
The Surrender exhibit has been made possible through a generous gift by the Ashner Family Evergreen Foundation in honor of John “Slew” McCain Sr., Admiral US Navy and John “Jack” McCain Jr., Admiral US Navy.
Susan and Michael Ashner
Donor Spotlight: Ashner Family Evergreen Foundation
The Ashner Family Evergreen Foundation was founded 12 years ago by Museum Trustee Michael Ashner and his wife Susan to better coordinate their philanthropic efforts. Michael and Susan are both from South New Jersey. Michael grew up in Margate and Susan in Pleasantville.
The Ashners have been involved with the Museum since 2011, when friends Ginny and former board member David Knott mentioned to them that there was The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. David shared stories of his involvement, and asked Michael if he too wanted to become involved with the Museum. Shortly after their discussion Michael took on a leadership role, joining David on the Board of Trustees.
Michael and Susan’s decision to demonstrate personal support for the Museum was also influenced by their family connections to the war effort. Michael’s two uncles, Morton Hassman and Jules Rainess, both served during WWII. Morton was a glider pilot and was killed in Operation Varsity, a massive airborne assault near the end of the war that landed Allied forces across the Rhine. Jules was in the US Army and served in the difficult New Guinea campaigns. Fortunately, he survived his combat tour.
Jules was reserved in discussing his wartime experiences. “He was a big man at six feet two inches tall,” Michael said. “When he enlisted he weighed 180 pounds. When he came back from New Guinea, he was down to 120 pounds.” Michael and Susan have named the Breaching the German Frontier Bunker gallery within the Road to Berlin in honor of the service and sacrifices of Michael’s uncles.
Michael chooses to support the Museum because it “believe(s) the cost and sacrifice of protecting our freedom and liberties needs to be shared with both current and future generations. We also believe the world should understand how strong a free citizen military can respond when provoked.” They feel that all who visit the Museum “cannot help but come away with some level of appreciation for the contributions that American soldiers and civilians made during WWII. I encourage everyone to visit the Museum and bring their friends and family. Each time I go there I enjoy it more and the people I bring enjoy it also.”
Museum President Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller said the institution “has always turned to its national board for leadership and support, and we are inspired by the generosity of Susan and Michael Ashner.”
The National WWII Museum is thankful for the support of Michael and Susan Ashner as we continue down our Road to Victory.
As we continue down the Road to Tokyo, we stop next at our final immersive gallery space, Downfall, which will examine the final months of the war and the world-changing military decisions which led to Japan’s ultimate surrender.
Unrestricted submarine warfare by the Allied forces were aimed to cut off Japan from shipping and trade while General Curtis LeMay’s low altitude bombing campaign incinerated Japan’s urban and industrial centers. With their economy destroyed, the Japanese could not produce the food and materials needed to carry on the war. The nation faced starvation. But the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa demonstrated that a fanatical will to resist animated the Japanese military and nation. The willingness to sacrifice and die for Emperor Hirohito allowed the Japanese military government to refuse to concede.
Therefore, the United States planned the largest amphibious invasion in world history, Operation Downfall. But instead of this invasion, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing the most violent, bloody conflict in history to a dramatic climax. Stunned by this new weapon which could wipe out an entire city, and accompanied by a declaration of war against Japan by the Soviet Union, the Japanese government asked for a peace settlement which spared Hirohito. The U.S. granted it. Victory in Japan Day, also known as V-J Day, occurred August 15, 1945, and American troops entered Tokyo unopposed at the end of August. A formal surrender agreement signed aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 finally ended the hostilities of WWII. Exhibits within Downfall will include Drawing the Noose, Defeating Japan, Dropping the Bomb and Surrender.
Devastation of Nagasaki industrial factory district by second atomic bomb dropped on Japanese on 22 September 1945.
Drawing the Noose
In an attempt to avoid a costly land invasion and force Japan to surrender, the Allies implemented a blockading strategy to prevent the Japanese from importing the vital natural resources they needed to continue the war. The Americans launched an aggressive submarine warfare campaign against Japanese merchant shipping and enforced a surface blockade. The exhibit will cover these naval tactics, as well as the firebombing campaign conducted by B-29 bombers which destroyed industrial operations and urban centers within Japan. Despite signs of their impending defeat, the Japanese military leadership vowed to continue fighting.
The Allied invasion of Japan, named Operation Downfall, was planned for November 1, 1945 at Kyushu, the third largest of the Japanese home islands. An invasion of Tokyo would follow in spring 1946. This exhibit will explain the preparations for the
operation and the defensive plan of the Japanese as they built up their resources on Kyushu and encouraged civilians to resist the invasion. Meanwhile, the atomic bomb was tested in New Mexico. The failure to force Japan to surrender through traditional bombing, and the heavy casualties predicted on both sides should the invasion occur, pushed American leaders to consider using this new weapon. The exhibit will detail the factors which informed the final decisions of the American leadership and cover the secret delivery of the atomic bombs to the Marianas Islands.
The Defeating Japan exhibit has been made possible through a generous gift in honor of Lt. William Mosey, Navy Air Corp, Lt. Jack Heise, Air Force.
Family members from four out of the seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II with Al Roker. From Left to Right: Sandra Holliday, Allene Carter, Al Roker, Willie Rivers, and Margaret Pender.
Hosted by NBC’s Today Show weather anchor Al Roker, who also produced the documentary Honor Deferred (2006) on these men, featured family members from four of the seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II. The evening explored the lives of the seven honorees, First Lieutenant Vernon Baker; Staff Sergeant Edward A. Carter, Jr.; First Lieutenant John R. Fox; Private First Class Willy F. James, Jr.; Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers; First Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas; and Private George Watson.
Although thousands of black soldiers saw combat, no African American servicemen received the Medal of Honor during World War II. Several of these men received Distinguished Service Crosses, but Medals of Honor were not distributed due to an unofficial practice of denying the nation’s highest military medal to African Americans. Prior to World War II, 57 African Americans had received the Medal of Honor and many after World War II as well. In 1997, after an investigation “to determine if there was a racial disparity in the way Medal of Honor recipients were selected,” President Bill Clinton conducted a ceremony awarding the Medal of Honor to seven men African American men.
During the event, war correspondent and author Joe Galloway; Dr. Conrad Crane, chief of historical services at the Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle Barracks; and Dr. Nick Mueller, president and CEO of The National WWII Museum, set the stage of our nation during World War II and relieved the heroic actions of these seven neglected men. Roker alongside family members of Staff Sergeant Edward A. Carter; Private First Class Willy F. James, Jr.; Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers; and First Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas, revealed the struggles and long wait for recognition of these men.
Missed the event? Watch “Unsung Heroes: Seven African American Heroes, Seven Medals of Honor, and the Decades that came Between Them” on livestream.
Learn more about the lives of these men and other African Americans in the Museum’s current special exhibit Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII on display at the Museum through May 30, 2016.
Sandra Holliday and her daughter Alanna Griffith standing at Medal of Honor Recipient Charles Thomas's feature in the Museum's special exhibit. They are the niece and great-niece of Charles Thomas. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Brother of WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Ruben Rivers, Willie Rivers, stands with his wife Norma Rivers at Ruben's feature in the Museum's special exhibit. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Relatives of Edward A. Carter, Jr. standing with his feature in the Museum special exhibit. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Dr. Nick Mueller, president and CEO of The National WWII Museum, showing Al Roker the five out of seven Medals of Honor awarded to African Americans during World War II on view in the Museum's special exhibit. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Five out of seven Medals of Honor awarded to African Americans during World War II on view in the Museum's special exhibit. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Sandra Holliday receiving a certificate for a memorial brick for her uncle Charles Thomas that will be placed on the Museum grounds. All seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II will have a brick placed at the Museum in their honor. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Allene Carter receiving a certificate for a memorial brick for Edward A. Carter, Jr. that will be placed on the Museum grounds.All seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II will have a brick placed at the Museum in their honor. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Margaret Pender holding the brick certificate for her relative, Medal of Honor recipient Willy James. All seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II will have a brick placed at the Museum in their honor. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Allene Carter, Willie Rivers, Margaret Pender, and Sandra Holliday proudly holding the brick certificates that honor their relatives. All seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II will have a brick placed at the Museum in their honor. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Family members from four out of the seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II with Al Roker. From Left to Right: Sandra Holliday, Alene Carter, Al Roker, Willie Rivers, and Margaret Pender. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
The brick certificate of Ruben Rivers. All seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II will have a brick placed at the Museum in their honor. Photos of the Unsung Heroes event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
Museum Intern Elise Ventura at work in the Museum vault re-housing an A-2 flight jacket.
The National WWII Museum is fortunate to have an extraordinary corps of over 250 volunteers and interns that offer valuable service and insight on a variety of projects and programs throughout our organization. Over the summer the Collections and Exhibits Department had the wonderful opportunity to host Elise Ventura, an intern through the French Heritage Society Exchange Program. Elise came to us from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and was a huge help to us. Her primary project during her internship was the reorganization and re-housing of a portion of our flight jacket collection. Upon completion of her internship, Elise wrote about her experience here at the Museum in the following blog post. We hope you enjoy it.
-Lowell Bassett, Collections Manager, The National WWII Museum
I had just graduated in art history, museology and collection care from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and was looking for a summer internship abroad when I found out about the French Heritage Society Exchange Program. This American association, dedicated to the preservation of the French architecture in the United States, offered four internships in New Orleans. Among those internships was one at The National WWII Museum. Because of my family history and my personal interest for the era, this was the only internship that I applied for. Once I learned that I was selected, the Museum’s Collections Manager, Lowell Bassett, quickly got in touch with me to let me know I was accepted and that he would be working with me. On my very first day at the Museum, Lowell introduced me to the basic principles of preservation for textiles and leather and he gave me an overview of my particular project: The re-housing of a portion of the Museum’s flight jacket collection. Later that day I was given a tour of the storage vault by Larry Decuers, one of the Museum’s knowledgeable curators, who acquainted me with the history and models of the different types of jackets that I would be working with.
The National WWII Museum owns a large collection of flight jackets of various models such as the A-2, 422-A, B-3, B-10 and B-15. These jackets made of poplin, leather, sheepskin and wool are very susceptible to damage from light, climate, and pests. For preservation and exhibit purposes their display within the Museum rotates quite often. Only a small portion of the collection is displayed in the different pavilions at any one time. The main venue for the jackets is in display cases among the “Warbirds” displayed in the Museum’s 26,000 square foot US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. The majority of the remaining collection of jackets is housed in climate-controlled storage in the Museum’s vault. As a summer intern, my mission was to locate various jackets in the different areas of the Museum’s vault, re-house those jackets in acid-free boxes and pad them with acid-free paper to avoid any hard creases or folds. Once the jackets were all properly stuffed and labeled as well as the boxes containing them, I was tasked with reorganizing a specific cabinet in the vault in which to store and consolidate them. I was also tasked with creating condition reports and reference photography of the jackets I was working with. To complete the process, I had to record all of these changes by entering the new information into the Museum’s collection management system, KE-Emu.
Working in this amazing museum for two months and having the opportunity to handle such interesting items was an incredible experience for me. I was proud to take part in the preservation of these flight jackets. The whole project became an engaging history lesson on these particular museum artifacts. I learned that the jackets originally were created as standardized military uniforms and many became mediums for the young airmen’s colorful personalities. Jackets were sometimes personalized by their owners with leather patches indicating the squadron or bomb group they were in and some had amazing designs on the back featuring pin-ups, cartoon characters, planes and bombs. It would seem that familiar cartoons, glamorous pin-ups and names of loved ones were meant to give the airmen a sense of comfort and reassure them during their missions. Other, more menacing images, such as pirate flags or ferocious animals might be seen as magical charms for protection and strength during the sorties that claimed so many lives. The rarity of the highly decorated A-2 is hard to stress: While over 1,000,000 A-2 jackets were produced during World War II only 10-15% depicted images of art or patches. Of that number only a small portion survived the war and made it to present-day collections intact.
A-2 Flying Jacket of 1st Lt. Armando J. Sinibaldo painted on the back with pin-up girl and 35 bombs along with Berwin Darlin’. The front left chest is painted with “A.J. Sinibaldo” and has a leather sewn-on patch for the 91st Bombardment Group. Gift of the Sinibaldo Family. 2013.230.001.
Throughout my internship I was constantly reminded that these “men” who fought and died for their country in World War II were extremely young and their customized jackets were often a symbol of their young age. After being stripped of their identities and individuality in training, many expressed their youth and sense of humor on these jackets and often on their planes (many nose art images were painted by the same artist as the jackets). Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, many civilians enlisted in the military increasing the personalization of the jackets with motifs of American pop culture. The war would mark a heavy toll on these young airmen. Losses were so heavy during the early years of the War that from 1942 to 1943 it was statistically impossible for a heavy bomber crew in the 8th Air Force to complete their 25 mission tour. By the end of World War II over 40,000 airmen had been killed in combat theater and over 23,000 aircraft had been lost.
Having the opportunity to work with a portion of the flight jacket collection and learning about the jackets’ owners was a real honor and extremely touching. One of the most memorable and emotional parts of my internship was having an opportunity to meet one of the families of one of the veterans. One day, as I was working in the vault, Lowell asked me to retrieve an A-2 flight jacket for a veteran’s family who stopped by the Museum. The family wanted to see the jacket their grandfather had donated a few years earlier. We presented them with the jacket and it was one of the more beautiful examples I had worked with during my internship. The back of the jacket depicted a gorgeously rendered pin-up as well as 30 bombs indicating 30 combat missions. The family was delighted to see that the jacket was being well taken care of and that it was being treated as both an artifact and artwork. They commented on the respect that was being shown to its previous owner their grandfather and how well it was being preserved in the Museum’s vault. I came to realize that the re-housing project was not just about preserving the flight jackets but above all about preserving the memories of the young and brave airmen who wore them. In the end I think the true goal of my project was to help to make sure that these wonderful pieces of history were properly stored so that they could tell their stories to future generations.
The internship with The National WWII Museum was an invaluable experience for me. It provided me with an opportunity to learn more about World War II in an extraordinary setting with a rich collection. It inspired me to pursue my studies in collection management and perhaps apply for a position abroad in the future. Thank you very much National World War II Museum for this incredible opportunity!
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!
Oktoberfest is an annual celebration of German folk culture originating in Bavaria, celebrated all over the world! It is often celebrated between September and October, its origins dating back to 1810. While Oktoberfest’s popularity did not grow within the United States until the second half of the 20th Century, the United States has always had a high concentration of German immigration.
That being said, the persecution of German-Americans during the Second World War was not nearly as bad as that of the Japanese. Generally speaking, people were not afraid of the German American population, as they often seemed as reliable and trustworthy Americans. General Dwight Eisenhower, descended from the Pennsylvania Dutch (of German descent), fit this description.
Gen. Eisenhower and a Pilot in Italy. 1943.
During World War II, along with the other immense and over the top bans and rules created by the Nazi Party, Oktoberfest celebrations were not allowed to occur. After the war was over, Oktoberfest resumed and its popularity increased tenfold as time went on. It is celebrated all over the United States and it is a great time.
Posted by Catherine Perrone, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.
As we continue down the Road to Tokyo, we stop next at the Death At Japan’s Doorstep gallery, which will detail the Battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa. These battles were the final two island D-Days for the American military before the invasion of Japan itself – and two of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Death at Japan’s Doorstep will examine these events in detail, covering their strategic importance as well as conveying the incredible experiences of those who fought. Exhibits will include Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
On February 19, 1945, the U.S. Marine Corps invaded Iwo Jima. The Japanese Forces were determined to fight to the death rather than surrender. Nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines were killed and 20,000 were wounded over 36 days of combat. Most of the 20,000 Japanese soldiers who fought were killed in action – only a few hundred lived to surrender. Maps and diagrams in the exhibit will be used to show the logistics of the invasion and the underground defensive network of caves and tunnels used by the Japanese. Artifacts and oral histories will help convey the experiences of individual marines. The exhibit will also cover the service of Navajo code talkers, who created a highly secure code based on their unique language. The code talkers sped up battlefield communications which saved lives and greatly contributed to an American victory. Securing Iwo Jima was strategically significant because it eliminated an important base used by Japan, but the battle is ultimately remembered for the exemplary service and extreme sacrifice of the Marine Corps. Twenty-seven Medals of Honor were awarded for action on Iwo Jima, which is more than any other battle in U.S. history.
Flag-raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. Courtesy of The National Archives and Records Administration.
The invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945 was the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific Theater of World War II and the last island battle before the invasion of mainland Japan. The initial landing was unopposed, but the Japanese Forces put up a fierce defense from caves, pillboxes, and other strong points as American soldiers and marines moved inland. Fighting at sea was equally brutal. The exhibit will examine the kamikaze tactics of the Japanese, where suicide pilots sunk or damaged dozens of Allied vessels and inflicted more casualties on the Navy than on any other service branch in the assault. The Americans lost more men on Okinawa than in any other battle in the Pacific. More than 12,000 American soldiers, sailors, and marines were killed. The Japanese suffered even greater casualties, with more than 100,000 military personnel killed. Approximately 25 percent of the civilian population also perished.
The Okinawa exhibit will demonstrate the intensity, desperation, and violence of the battle and will also cover the devastating loss of extraordinary individuals, such as the famous war correspondent, Ernie Pyle, and General Simon B. Buckner. A deeply moving and educational exhibit, Okinawa will urge visitors to consider the high costs of war.
The Okinawa and USS Franklin narrative film within Death at Japan’s Doorstep has been made possible through a generous gift by Jennifer and Phil Satre.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.