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Archive for the ‘Museum News’ Category

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Home Front Friday: Use It Up Pillowcase Dress

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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 anything that could be reused was reused. The popular slogan was “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without.” Longtime Museum volunteer Al Mipro has a good story about his mother repurposing chicken feed sacks into dresses for his baby sister.

That spirit can be replicated today. In the last Home Front Friday blog entry, we featured embroidery as a travel souvenir and a useful skill. The pillowcases pictured have now been turned into dresses, much like Mr. Mipro’s mother did with the chicken sack dresses for her baby.

Here are step by step instructions for turning something in storage into a handcrafted item (the image gallery has each step pictured):

Step One: Find a pillowcase

Step Two: Cut it to size

  • General shape – find a dress that currently fits the eventual wearer and add two inches for hem allowance. Or you can measure from collarbone to desired length on the child and add two inches.  Finally, a typical toddler dress (2T/3T) is about 22 inches, so cut 24 inches up from the bottom of the pillowcase.
  • Armhole – cut about 4 inches in and 6 inches down.

Step Three: Sew it up – sew the arms first. Press 1/4 inch and 1/4 inch again, then sew. Finish the top by pressing 1/4 inch and then approximately 1 inch (wide enough for your ribbon to fit) and sew it close to the edge.

Step Four: Finish it – pull your ribbon through with a safety pin. You can sew a line in the middle of each ribbon to hold it in place.

Step Five: Put it on your toddler (don’t know a toddler? There are a couple of crafty projects out there that send pillowcase dresses to little girls around the world. Send your creation to someone who needs it.)

 

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

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN: SURPRISE ATTACK AND NORTH SHOULDER EXHIBITS

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Battle of the Bulge Rendering

Battle of the Bulge Rendering

As we continue our journey through the Battle of the Bulge gallery inside the Road to Berlin, we stop next at the Surprise Attack exhibit. This exhibit focuses on the initial response of the Allied Forces from the surprise German attack during the winter of 1944-45 through oral history stations, artifacts, and content panels. From there, we then move on to the North Shoulder exhibit, which through an in-depth examination of military response, will honor the soldiers who fought and were ultimately victorious at Elsenborn Ridge.

 

Surprise Attack

This exhibit will explain the strategy behind Hitler’s counterattack during the winter of 1944-45 and the initial response of the Allied Forces. Hitler planned to break through a weak spot in the Allied lines, occupied by only three divisions, in a drive to Antwerp, Belgium, splitting the British army to the north and American forces to the south. The operation was Hitler’s last desperate attempt to turn the tide of the war. The Germans hoped the element of surprise, the dense forest terrain of the Ardennes, and the harsh weather conditions would all work to their advantage – and their efforts were initially successful. Many American units were surrounded and, in some cases, entire regiments surrendered.  Though the Allied forces rallied in time to prevent disaster, and would eventually achieve victory, Surprise Attack will show that Germany remained still a capable and dangerous enemy.

North Shoulder

This exhibit will cover American defenses against the German assault in key locations along the northern shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge. The exhibit will provide an in-depth examination of the military action at Elsenborn Ridge, where the 1st, 2nd, and 99th Army Divisions played a pivotal role. Although the Germans possessed superior armor, they were held in check by innovative American tactics including coordinated time on target artillery strikes, new proximity fuses for artillery shells, and more advanced air power. Both sides suffered many casualties. Ultimately, the German troops were unable to break through American lines at Elsenborn Ridge. The exhibit will also focus on three towns: Stavelot, La Gleize and Stoumont. The North Shoulder exhibit will honor the soldiers who fought here and show that their valiant efforts were crucial to American victory.

Chow is served to American Infantrymen (Courtesy National Archives)

Chow is served to American Infantrymen (Courtesy National Archives)

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN: BATTLE OF THE BULGE

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NICK PREFERRED_1.8 Battle of the BulgeAs we continue our journey through The Road to Berlin, we stop next at what will be an extraordinary immersive gallery space, the month-long Battle of the Bulge – the US Army’s largest battle of World War II.  Grappling with bitterly cold weather, more than 30 divisions and 600,000 men fought desperately to halt the Germans after the surprise assault in December 1944.  Walking through the gallery, you will be surrounded by the dense, snow-covered Ardennes forest, with projections of soldiers and battle scenes partially visible through the trees, allowing you to sense the extreme environmental conditions that made this battle one of the most difficult of the war.  Oral history stations, artifacts, and content panels will guide you from the surprise German attack to the Siege, to the ultimate hard-won Allied victory.  Finally, you will join the Allies as they push through the German border and write the final chapter in the war in Europe – the fall of the Third Reich.

 

Donor Spotlight- The Starr Foundation

 

C.V. Starr

C.V. Starr

The Battle of the Bulge gallery has been made possible through a generous gift from The Starr Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1955 by Cornelius Vander Starr, who served in the US Army during WWI. He died in 1968 at the age of 76, leaving his estate to the Foundation, and he named his business partners – Ernest E. Stempel, John J. Roberts, Houghton Freeman, and Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg – to run the foundation under Greenberg’s leadership. The partners were all WWII veterans: Stempel, Roberts, and Freeman all served in the Navy in the Pacific and Greenberg served in the Army in Europe.

Greenberg served throughout the European Theater – from landing on the beaches of Normandy to fighting in the Battle of the Bulge to the liberating concentration camps in Germany. In recognition of his service and contributions to the Allied victory,  Greenberg received the Legion of Honor from the French government on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day earlier this year. When being praised for his brave military service, Greenberg responds that he was “only one of millions of WWII veterans who fought for our country.”

Florence A. Davis, President of The Starr Foundation, remembers when Museum founder Stephen Ambrose first met Greenberg in 2001. Tom Brokaw arranged the meeting and shortly thereafter The Starr Foundation awarded the Museum a $1 million grant in support of the institution then known as The National D-Day Museum.

Florence Davis

Florence Davis

During this time the Museum was also building out its D-Days of the Pacific galleries within the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. The Foundation chose to name the Introduction Gallery to honor the service of The Starr Foundation directors, particularly the three that served in the Pacific. Eager to dedicate a space that would preserve the story of the European Theater in Greenberg’s honor, The Starr Foundation generously provided an additional gift in 2010 in support of the Museum’s Road to Victory Capital Campaign to name the Battle of the Bulge gallery.

Davis first visited the Museum in late 2001, soon after the attacks on 9/11, and she recalled the Museum was “a good reminder of the ideals that Americans fought for in the past and what we continue to fight for today.” Her late father also served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946. He passed away when she was young and, as it has for so many others, the Museum provided her an indirect way to learn about his experiences and life during the war.

One of The Starr Foundation’s focuses is to “invest in education and international affairs,” Davis explained. “The Museum is place for families to learn about American and world history. Visitors gain a sense of how the American system of government worked under circumstances of global combat. The Museum educates visitors about the positive lessons of how the country pulled together on rationing, war bonds, and enlistment in huge numbers, as well as the negative lessons of the (racial) segregation of troops and internment of Japanese Americans. Understanding the entire history of WWII, warts and all, is very important.”

The Museum’s growth and impact can be attributed in part to The Starr Foundation’s tremendous support of the Museum’s capital expansion. We feel privileged to honor the service of The Starr Foundation’s directors, a group of heroes whose service and sacrifice preserved the freedoms we have today. The Museum is grateful for the Foundation’s support and for the leadership of Greenberg and Davis, who have played key roles in developing the Museum into a world-class institution.

Post by Katie DeBruhl, Donor Relations Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN: MESSERCHMITT BF 109

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This week on the Countdown to Road to Berlin we are taking a quick break from walking you through the galleries to highlight the Messerschmitt Bf 109. This German airplane is suspended the Atrium of Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters, and can already be seen by Museum visitors passing by as they anxiously await the pavilion’s grand opening this December.

 

Atrium within Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters

Atrium within Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters

The story of the European Theater of World War II cannot be told without discussing the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Also known as the Me-109, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history and was flown by the top German fighter aces of World War II. With a range of 621 miles and a maximum speed of 398 miles per hour, it was a formidable foe for allied air forces. The US Army Air Corps engaged in countless air battles with the Bf 109 while on bombing and reconnaissance missions over Europe. Undoubtedly the major threat that the 9th Air Force and its B-26 pilots faced daily was from such German fighter planes. Faster and more maneuverable, the Bf 109 offered fierce opposition to the B-26, which had a maximum speed of only 282 miles per hour.

 

This plane will “dive” toward you both virtually and acoustically, creating the sensation that one is under attack by the Axis enemy, and sounds of the Messerschmitt flying will encompass you as you enter the Atrium. A “Fly Boys” interactive feature will also allow you to explore the plane’s cockpit.

 

Next up- The Battle of The Bulge gallery.

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN: BREACHING THE GERMAN FRONTIER BUNKER GALLERY

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German Bunker Rendering

Rendering of what the Breaching the German Frontier gallery will look like within the Road to Berlin.

The next stop within the Road to Berlin will bring to life another vital aspect of the WWII story – the German Siegfried Line, a network of bunkers, minefields, and barbed wire built into hilly terrain. After the failure of Market Garden, the Allied advance ground to a halt as it encountered the Siegfried Line.  This gallery mimics the interior of a blown-out German bunker, allowing you to see the infrastructure employed by the Germans in defense of their homeland.  The gallery’s content focuses on the stories of the Allied advance into Germany, including the capture of Aachen, the first German city to surrender, while also foreshadowing the many battles that still lay ahead for the American forces.  Once the Allies managed to penetrate sections of the Siegfried Line, their spirits were high and many hoped to be home by Christmas.  These hopes were shattered by Hitler’s final counter-offensive in the West, which became the Battle of the Bulge, the costliest land battle of the war for the Americans.

 

Susan and Michael Ashner

Susan and Michael Ashner

DONOR SPOTLIGHT- THE ASHNER FAMILY EVERGREEN FOUNDATION

The Breaching the German Frontier Bunker gallery has been made possible through a generous gift from The Ashner Family Evergreen Foundation. The Foundation was started 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 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.

Morton Hassman

Morton Hassman

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.

Jules Rainess

Jules Rainess

Michael said he and Susan support the Museum because they “believe 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 Breaching the German Frontier gallery that they are sponsoring in our new pavilion will bring to life the story of the daunting challenges faced by our citizen soldiers even during the final phases of the war in Europe.”

Michael also recently began his second three-year term on the Museum’s Board of Trustees. The National WWII Museum is extremely grateful for Michael’s leadership on the board and for Michael and Susan’s strong show of support for the Road to Victory capital campaign.

 

Post by Lauren Bevis, Donor Relations Coordinator, and Ashley Nash, Prospect Coordinator.

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN – EXHIBITS WITHIN THE NORTHERN EUROPE: BREAKOUT AND LIBERATION GALLERY

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In last week’s blog post of the Road to Berlin countdown, you learned about the story of the story of the Allies experiences in France in WWII in the Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery. This week, let’s explore the content of the gallery’s first two exhibits: Pushing Beyond the Beachhead and Race Across France.

You will also learn the story of Frank Denius, a WWII veteran who, along with the Cain Foundation, has generously sponsored the Race Across France exhibit In Honor of The Men of The 30th Infantry Division.

PUSHING BEYOND THE BEACHHEAD

Made possible through a gift from the Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation

This exhibit will explore the many unexpected obstacles that the Allies faced as they moved inland into France. The British and Canadian forces attempted to advance from Gold, Sword, and Juno beaches, but were stalled by fierce enemy resistance outside Caen.  At the same time American forces were struggling through the bocage, a region of compact fields and tall, dense hedgerows that proved ideal defensive terrain for the Germans. Pushing Beyond the Beachhead will convey how the Allies still faced a deadly fight in the weeks after D-Day, and how they slowly advanced forward to the port of Cherbourg and the town of Saint-Lô through grim determination.

Soldier stands alongside the rubble of the town of Loriol-sur-Drome, France on September 3, 1944. U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, Gift of Regan Forrester, from the collection of The National WWII Museum. 2002.337.896

Soldier stands alongside the rubble of the town of Loriol-sur-Drome, France on September 3, 1944. U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, Gift of Regan Forrester, from the collection of The National WWII Museum. 2002.337.896

RACE ACROSS FRANCE

Made possible through a gift In Honor of The Men of the 30th Infantry Division

Race Across France will tell the story of how American forces battled for weeks to break through the Normandy hedgerows before launching Operation Cobra on July 25, 1944.  Allied bombers took advantage of our air superiority in a massive strike that hit some of our own troops but also paralyzed the German defenders, allowing American troops to suddenly punch through the German lines near Saint-Lô and overwhelm the stunned enemy. General George Patton’s Third Army spearheaded the race across the French countryside, determined to encircle the rapidly retreating enemy in the pocket at Falaise. The exhibit will convey the resolution of the Allied Forces as units poured through the opening, broke out into the open terrain, and doggedly closed in on the Germans through fierce fighting.

Elderly French lady gratefully kisses a US soldier in Bourg, (likely Rhône-Alpes), France on September 6, 1944.  U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, Gift of Regan Forrester, from the collection of The National WWII Museum. 2002.337.907

Elderly French lady gratefully kisses a US soldier in Bourg, (likely Rhône-Alpes), France on September 6, 1944. U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, Gift of Regan Forrester, from the collection of The National WWII Museum. 2002.337.907

Donor Spotlight- Frank Denius and the Cain Foundation

Frank Denius, WWII-era photo

Frank Denius, WWII-era photo

The Race Across France exhibit has been made possible through a generous gift from Frank Denius and the Cain Foundation In Honor of The Men of The 30th Infantry Division. Franklin W. Denius spent his childhood in the small town of Athens, Texas. As a teenager he attended a military prep school, Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, and then at the age of 17 he enrolled at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina (under the U.S. Army’s educational program). Within a year, he entered active duty on June 3, 1943. After training as a forward artillery observer, an especially dangerous job that required operating between friendly and enemy lines, he was assigned to the 30th Old Hickory Infantry Division.

Frank arrived in England in February 1944. On June 7, 1944, his unit waded ashore at Omaha Beach and went into action providing fire support for the 29th Infantry Division for six days, then his artillery battalion returned in support of the 30th Division. On July 17, 1944, his observer party came under enemy fire, and his commanding officer was killed. He took command of the situation and began calling in fire, and the 30th Infantry Division overcame the German opposition.

In August, he found himself and 700 other men surrounded by a German counter-offensive designed to split Allied forces. For six days, they resisted the German counterattack from atop Hill 314 during the Battle of Mortain. He was calling fire missions almost non-stop for 72 hours and stopped the Germans. When they were finally relieved only 376 of the men came down that hill, as roughly half the American defenders were killed or wounded.

In December 1944, Frank’s unit was in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge and found itself in the path of another German offensive. Frank said he disobeyed an order to withdraw, and began calling for fire that repelled a German Panzer attack. Although wounded by German rocket fire on January 25, 1945, he fought through Germany until VE-Day and came home in August 1945. Frank fondly remembers returning home from the War as an honored member of the 30th Division on the Queen Mary, enjoying a private room with a real bed and a working shower.

He then returned to Texas and was discharged in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston on October 2, 1945.  He has been awarded the Purple Heart twice and the Silver Star a total of four times. While some of his medals were awarded in public ceremonies in France, in 1954 he recalls “receiving a box full of medals from the Department of Defense at my doorstep that I did not even know I had received.” Through the GI Bill he was able to attend the University of Texas and earned degrees in business and law.

Frank’s first contact with The National WWII Museum came through the newspaper. He was told there was an article in the newspaper about Andrew Higgins, who manufactured the boats that Frank had used to land on the Normandy beaches. He read the article and learned more about the location of the Higgins factories and that New Orleans was a natural site for what was then the National D-Day Museum.  In the mid 1990s, Frank attended a lecture by Museum co-founder Stephen Ambrose at the University of Texas campus, in which the historian discussed D-Day and the campaign to build the Museum.

Frank serves as President of the Cain Foundation, which has generously sponsored the Race Across France exhibit Frank toured the exhibit space in its earliest stages last winter and shared that, “having seen it in the raw with all the cables hanging around, I know it is going to be wonderful and I am looking forward to seeing it when it opens.”

Frank Denius at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer

We are very thankful that Frank and the Cain Foundation chose to honor the 30th Infantry Division through a gift to The National WWII Museum. Frank wants those men “to be forever acknowledged for their tremendous roles in the battles they fought. The 30th Infantry Division deserves the recognition for their service in WWII for all generations to come. Every generation of Americans will have to pay a price for freedom, and the 30th is a good illustration of the price that those guys paid in their generation.” His regiment was nominated for a presidential citation for its exemplary service during the Allied advance, including a vital role in all five major battles of the European Theater:  Normandy, Northern France, Central Europe, Ardennes/the Battle of the Bulge, and Rhineland, Germany.

Frank supports The National WWII Museum to “memorialize the brave men and women of WWII and honor the freedom that America provides to new generations. The Museum will give them a patriotic feeling that I think no other experience will do.”

We are privileged at the Museum to be able to honor the 30th Division in the Race Across France exhibit within Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters and benefit from the Cain Foundation’s generous support.  We are thankful for the partnership of Frank Denius and the Cain Foundation in honoring the Citizen soldier and preserving the story of the 30th Infantry Division for generations to come.

Next Up- The remaining exhibits within the Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery and the story of the donor who generously supported them, the Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation.

Post by Lauren Bevis, Donor Relations Manager, and Ashley Nash, Prospect Coordinator.

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN- NORTHERN EUROPE: BREAKOUT AND LIBERATION GALLERY

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In our last blog post of the Road to Berlin countdown, we covered the D-Day Theater and D-Day Beach exhibit. Now, we examine the story of the Allies experiences in France through Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation, followed by a spotlight on our donors that have generously sponsored this important gallery.

Rendering of the Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery

Rendering of the Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery

The breaching of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall and establishment of a secure beachhead in Normandy was followed by a campaign of dramatic highs and lows, wins, and losses.  After battling German troops in the hedgerow country and Normandy’s coastal towns, Allied forces broke through enemy lines and raced across France.  This gallery will immerse you in the obstacles experienced by the Allies – from the disheartening struggle amid the dense hedgerows, to the German counterattack at Mortain, to the major setback in Operation Market Garden.  Exhibits also will recall a successful amphibious assault in Operation Dragoon.  You will rejoice along the way as the Allies liberate Paris and finally push Germans back to their border.

 

Donor Spotlight- Jennifer and Phil Satre

Jennifer and Phil Satre at Lake Tahoe on their 41st wedding anniversary,

Jennifer and Phil Satre at Lake Tahoe on their 41st wedding anniversary,

The Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery has been made possible through a generous gift from Jennifer and Phil Satre in memory of his father, Sam Satre. Both California natives, Phil and Jennifer met when they were students at Stanford University.  Their parents were a part of “the greatest generation” and both of their fathers served during WWII.

Throughout her childhood, Jennifer’s parents, Pat and Patricia Arnold, often spoke about the war. Having already graduated from college, her father joined the Army Air Corps 5 months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was first sent to Cal Tech University for training in meteorology and then assigned to the 12th Weather Squadron in North Africa.  Jennifer says, “Mostly he talked about the wonderful camaraderie amongst the men and how much each soldier depended upon another.” He returned to the states and was decommissioned in the summer of 1945 as a major in the US Army Air Forces.

After the United States entered the war, Jennifer’s mother joined the American Red Cross and served in England at several different air bases. Jennifer has a collection of letters her mother wrote to her family which relate her work to boost the morale of the soldiers while on base.  This involved a variety of activities such as establishing the base donut-coffee shop, planning parties, and corresponding with the families of hospitalized soldiers. Jennifer remembers her mother telling her about the tension and, often, sadness that came with standing at the air field and counting the planes as they returned from missions.  According to Jennifer, “Regardless of whether or not our parents talked about the war, our generation was really shaped by our parents’ experiences during WWII.”

Sam Satre, a farm boy from Minnesota, met June Sterling in Menlo Park, California, while he was on leave from his service in the US Calvary in mid November 1941.  According to Phil’s mother, it was love at first sight and they were married soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Phil’s father had been in the cavalry for two years when the US involvement in WWII began to gain momentum. The cavalry that he was a part of evolved into the 997th Field Artillery Battalion of the US Army. On the evening of June 26, 1944, Phil’s father landed on Omaha beach and participated in the Normandy Invasion. He also fought later in the Battle of the Bulge. After the victory in Europe, his unit was moved to Czechoslovakia to retrain for deployment to Japan. However, with the end of the war in the Pacific, he returned home in 1945 to California and enrolled at Stanford on the GI Bill. Phil was born while his father was in school.

Although Phil’s father did not speak of his wartime experiences, this began to change when his father attended a reunion of his army unit nearly 30 years later. Prior to that gathering, Phil had never known that his father landed at Normandy.

Jennifer shared that “Phil’s mother could write a book about what it was like to be a WWII bride with a child back home.”  Phil’s mother followed his father around to all of his assignments until his unit went to England, and then stayed home and took care of Phil’s sister. Phil’s mother still has all the letters Sam wrote to her while he was away. Phil has never read their letters, but Jennifer has. “All they say is how much they love each other. Phil’s father couldn’t say much more than that, so there is not a lot of information. Just ‘I miss you.’” Phil’s mother turns 92 this July.

Shortly after his father passed away, Phil began to learn more about World War II through movies such as Saving Private Ryan and from reading Stephen Ambrose’s books, in particular D-Day and Citizen Soldier. A couple of years after the Museum opened, Trustee Boysie Bollinger led an effort to create a national board, expanding the scope of leadership with people who lived outside of Louisiana. It was at this time that Phil was approached, and after meeting with Museum President and CEO Nick Mueller in 2002, Phil joined the Board of Trustees. Phil reflected on his commitment to the Museum, “It has been twelve years since I joined the board and it has been a great experience. It has also been a lot of hard work, but I think we are all very proud of how the Museum has evolved and how it has become such an important part of the telling of the story of World War II.”

Phil’s father also took part in the liberation of the death camps in Europe. Phil still has photos that his father took during that time, which he describes as quite gruesome. He feels these photos “reiterate how awful that experience was and what liberation meant to the people that survived.” For those reasons, Jennifer and Phil felt it was a privilege and an honor to sponsor the Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery in Phil’s father’s name.

Jennifer and Phil have also generously sponsored the Okinawa exhibit within the Road to Tokyo, the second floor Pacific Theater Galleries within Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters. This floor is scheduled to open in 2015. They have named the exhibit in memory of two of Phil’s uncles, Gail Donald Sterling and Vern Patterson Sterling. Gail and Vern enlisted together and both participated in the First Marine Division invasion of Okinawa. They both survived WWII and Phil knows that both of his uncles were very proud of their service in the Marines. When Phil and Jennifer saw that the Museum was building the Road to Tokyo, he wanted to acknowledge their role as Citizen Soldiers.

In terms of their own philosophy for philanthropy, Phil and Jennifer explained:

There are two things that are crucial. One is that we believe that the mission of the organization is an important one. We have strong feelings about our parents and our families’ participation in the war effort, whether on the Home Front or in uniform. The need to have a Museum that tells the American Experience in WWII, the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – is something that resonated with us. Almost as important is a confidence in the leadership of an organization. The leadership means not only the Board of Trustees but also Nick Mueller and his staff and all of the people, including volunteers, involved on a day-to-day basis in operating the organization. We always had confidence that they could execute the mission successfully because they had the work ethic and qualities of leadership to make The National WWII Museum a reality.

​I think that when you make a donation to an organization, you want to feel as good or better about that donation as the recipient organization. You should be happier than they are to be able to support them. We feel that way about the support that we give to The National WWII Museum.

 

Post by Lauren Bevis, Donor Relations Manager, and Ashley Nash, Prospect Coordinator.

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN: D-DAY THEATER

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After learning about the Air War within Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries within the future Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters, visitors will come upon the critical moment of the War in Europe – the invasion of Normandy. After a massive buildup of forces, equipment and supplies in England, the Allies launched their long-awaited invasion.

Nick Preferred - DDAY Theater Rendering

Rendering of the D-Day Theater and Film

 

D-DAY THEATER

D-Day Theater made possible through a gift from the Patrick Family Foundation

In order to tell this fascinating story but not replicate a major D-Day exhibit in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, the Museum has created a bold new D-Day Film that will capture the courage and sacrifice of many thousands of men on D-Day, allowing the Allies to secure the beachheads and start their drive across France. This looping video will prepare visitors to enter Normandy and race across France with the Allies in the next major gallery. But before visitors pass the beaches, they will have a glimpse of the aftermath of D-Day through a small exhibit dedicated to the soldiers who were killed on the beaches.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

D-DAY BEACH EXHIBIT

The D-Day Beach exhibit will serve as the emotional bridge between D-Day and the Allies experiences in France. The exhibit will include an iconic photo of the Omaha Beach after D-Day, artifacts that convey the great sacrifice of the soldiers, and Ernie Pyle’s dispatch from the aftermath of D-Day, “A Long Thin Line of Personal Anguish.” Ernie Pyle was an American journalist who followed US troops through battles and dangerous situations to be able to report on the war and the heroic efforts of the soldiers. His dispatch provides introspection and illustrates the loss of life on the beach following D-Day, expressing the true sacrifice that American soldiers made to liberate France and Western Europe from Nazi Germany.

Photo 1 - Ernie Pyle

War Correspondent Ernie Pyle discusses battlefront events in France in June 1944. U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, 2011.102.094.

 

Up next- Northern Europe: Breakout and Liberation gallery

Post by Lauren Bevis, Donor Relations Manager, and Ashley Nash, Prospect Coordinator.

 

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Independent Woman Part I: Rosie the Riveter

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During WWII, millions of “independent women” contributed to the war effort in many different ways. In 1940, about 12 million women were in the workforce. By 1945, over 19 million were employed. In addition to the new women entering the workforce, there was a shift in the type of work being performed by those women who had already been in the workforce prior to the war. Women left lower paying jobs such as waitressing or domestic work for higher paying factory jobs, which could mean an average increase of up to 40% in salary. In addition to all of the women working in defense jobs, over 350,000 American women served in uniform, paving the way on a totally different front.

J. Howard Miller's Rosie the Riveter.

J. Howard Miller’s Westinghouse Poster.

One of the most recognizable representations of a woman from WWII is J. Howard Miller’s poster girl, known popularly as Rosie the Riveter. During WWII, Rosie the Riveter was joined by her sisters, Wendy the Welder, Bertha the Burner, Jenny on the Job and Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl. But Rosie, conceived as a propaganda pin-up, has crossed generations to stand as a sometimes contested symbol for female empowerment. The concept and icon of “Rosie the Riveter,” continues to be adapted and used as a symbol for power and a testament to the spirit of the American woman.

The evolution of the Rosie icon is complex. There are several iterations of what is known popularly as “Rosie the Riveter.” Technically, the icon stems from the 1942 hit song by the same name written by Evans and Loeb. This inspired artist Norman Rockwell’s painting, Rosie the Riveter, debuted on the cover of the 1943 Memorial Day issue of the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell’s Rosie means business and is a true multi-tasker, balancing a rivet gun in her lap, eating a sandwich, and nonchalantly stepping on a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The “Rosie” cover was one of Rockwell’s most popular and the original painting sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for nearly $5 million.

J. Howard Miller’s depiction of a female worker from February 1943 presents a more glamorized image than Rockwell’s. She wears a red bandana, denim work shirt, flexes a bicep and is quoted, “We Can Do It!” Her message emphasizes the collective (“We”) rather than the individual (“I”) necessary for achieving victory. The poster was commissioned by the Westinghouse Corporation for a campaign to spur production among women workers. Miller’s poster, and the campaign, was designed to run for two weeks throughout Westinghouse factories.

Miller’s image has outlived its two weeks by more than seventy years. It has endured and evolved with cultural shifts. Like other iconic propaganda works—the British “Keep Calm and Carry On,” and Uncle Sam’s “I Want You,” “Rosie” has been adapted and adopted by many disparate causes and campaigns. See the tremendous popularity of any of these posters by a simple search on the internet; anyone can make their own version of it, even on our own site! Rosie’s message serves as a blank canvas which is often employed to convey rallying cries of all stripes. Rosie’s red bandana has been sported by Marge Simpson, Sarah Palin, Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, Kelly Rowland, and most recently by Beyoncé during a visit to The National WWII Museum.

The photo-op captured by the famous “independent woman” at the Museum (which so far has received 1.15 million likes on Instagram) is an activity that any visitor to the Museum can engage in. “Become a Propaganda Poster” features not only the “We Can Do It!” poster, but also the rationing campaign poster “Do with Less so They’ll Have Enough” for which visitors can don a steel-pot helmet and raise a canteen cup. Beyond the dress-up, the Museum has extensive artifacts and oral histories from “real” Rosies and we are committed to telling their stories.

We collected one such story as an oral history last month. In 1942, Mildred Aupied was a twenty-year-old secretary for the phone company when she heard a call for women welders. She jumped at the chance to attend welding school and within two months, she and 24 other women immediately began welding Liberty Ships at Delta Shipbuilding Company in New Orleans. In her interview, she stressed her pride at having learned and mastered a new and challenging trade. The women at Delta Shipbuilding relished the opportunity, the pay, and the camaraderie. In addition, all of this hard work was to benefit their country during a time of tremendous labor shortage and need.

Women played important roles in WWII, motivated by both patriotism and paychecks. The fight for equality was one that would continue postwar into the present day. Learn more about American Women in WWII on the Home Front and Beyond. See other Museum posts tagged with Rosie.

Post by Curator Kim Guise and Virtual Classroom Coordinator Chrissy Gregg

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COUNTDOWN TO ROAD TO BERLIN

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In last week’s blog post of the Road to Berlin countdown, you learned about the story of air power in WWII in the Air War gallery. This week, let’s plunge into the content of the gallery’s exhibits: First Strikes, Losses, and Aircrews Experiences.

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A group of Army A-20 Havoc attack bombers roaring out over the sea enroute to bomb Nazi positions in Cisterno, Italy in March 28, 1944. Credit: U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, 2011.102.398

FIRST STRIKES

The First Strikes exhibit will explore the American and Allied air strategies and examine their first air attacks on European soil, discussing what was gained, lost, and learned. Bombers attempted to knock out key Axis industries – oil, aviation, military facilities, transportation, and ordnance factories – and faced fierce enemy defenses in the process. The story of the earliest missions of the Eighth Bomber Command, who earned an impressive record throughout the war and came to be known as “The Mighty Eighth,” will also be told in First Strikes. The exhibit will feature the oral histories and personal stories of United States Army Air Force (USAAF) veterans, plus various artifacts such as flight jackets decorated with signature squadron patches and elaborate artwork conveying the spirit, personalities, and experiences of American airmen. First Strikes will also examine the technology used in the air war, which made aircraft more precise and effective than ever before, as well as a replica Quonset hut – a semi-circular pre-fabricated structure that could be easily shipped and quickly constructed at bases overseas. Video footage of the air war will be projected overhead, adding another immersive element to the exhibit.

LOSSES

During World War II, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) was up against one of the strongest and most experienced air forces in the world: the German Luftwaffe. Their fierce fighting skills resulted in high casualties among American airmen. The exhibit Losses details the Luftwaffe’s response to Allied attacks and honors the brave American airmen who risked their lives in the fight against tyranny. Artifacts in the exhibit, such as the personal belongings and uniforms of airmen, as well as the oral histories of USAAF veterans, will humanize these tragic losses. The Germans’ impressive arsenal, including weaponry such as the Flak 88 anti-aircraft artillery gun, was a major threat. The Germans also improved their aircraft, and recalled many fighters from the eastern front to join the defense against the USAAF. Americans quickly learned that they could not send bombers into German territory without being escorted by fighter planes. Improvements in fighter technology resulted in longer-range escorts, which improved the chances for Allied bombers. Various maps and photographs in the exhibit will help visitors identify these deadly weapons and will show the limits of bomber range radar compared to those of fighter escorts. American airpower had many great achievements during World War II and this exhibit will show the immense obstacles and devastating defeats they overcame on their way to victory.

AIRCREW EXPERIENCES

This exhibit will explain the treacherous flying conditions and the high risk of death in the air that the bomber crews and fighter pilots experienced during the war. Weather had a major strategic, operational, and tactical impact. Airmen were extremely exposed and vulnerable not only to hostile weather conditions but to enemy fire from both the ground and air, as the transparent nature of the air provided no natural cover in war. The fluctuating conditions of weather, environment, and enemy engagements brought great psychological uncertainties for the air crews tasked with winning the skies from the Luftwaffe. Air crews in WWII experienced hostile environments and conditions of warfare in the high altitudes which had never before been experienced in military history. The enormous industrial effort to turn out massive fleets of planes, the rigorous training and unprecedented combat experiences of pilots and crews, and the pivotal role of air power in military strategy all underline the importance of the air war for ultimate Allied victory. The deadly nature of the air war highlights the tremendous dedication, skills, determination and courage of our Air Forces, and validates why these men should never be forgotten.

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General Eisenhower and a pilot in Italy on December 27, 1943. Credit: U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, Gift of Regan Forrester, 2002.337.089

 

Post by Lauren Bevis, Donor Relations Manager, and Ashley Nash, Prospect Coordinator.

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