New exhibit commemorates
World War II veterans
O.C. History Center to display collection
that was long time in the making
LA GRANGE, Ky. (March 2014) – The Oldham County History Center will unveil a new exhibit on March 22 that honors the lives of World War II veterans in Oldham County and surrounding areas. It will highlight personal experiences of people during World War II from the homefront to the battlefront. The History Center is located at 106 N. Second Ave. in La Grange.
The exhibit will contain stories of local World War II veterans that the History Center has been collecting since 2002 in a partnership with the Library of Congress Veteran’s Oral History Project. The focus of the exhibit is to pay tribute to the local service men and women who fought for democracy on foreign soil and seas.
This photo shows five Kentuckians on Okinawa on V-J Day. It was in the communications shack behind these men that Bruce Heilman (third from left) took the message that the atom bomb had been dropped. It is among a collection of artifacts in a new History Center exhibit in La Grange, Ky.
In addition, “we wanted to carry our temporary exhibit theme into our gala them this year, which honors Dr. Bruce Heilman, chancellor at the University of Richmond and a World War II Marine Veteran who acts as a national spokesperson for The Greatest Generations,” said Nancy Theiss, the History Center’s executive director.. The Greatest Generations Foundation is a foundation established to remember those who served our country. Heilman will be awarded the J. Chilton Barnet Champion of Oldham County History award on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.
Themes included in the exhibit will incorporate “artifacts and transcripts that we have as part of our archival collection,” said Theiss. The History Center archives contains mementos and articles from veterans that have been donated throughout the years including uniforms, military awards, posters, correspondences, family letters, etc. These items will make the exhibit especially meaningful to those who visit. One interesting feature is a detailed scrapbook from Helen Bennett, who lost her son, Earl, in the war. The scrapbook contains letters from Earl to his mother and gives a glimpse of what life was like for a soldier far from home.
“We hope to highlight the lives of our local veterans who are still living, as well as attract schools and families who are interested in World War II from either a past relative’s experiences during that time period of history, which advanced the idea of world peace through the creation of The United Nations as well as the technological advances during that era,” said Theiss.
Also included in the exhibit will be a scrapbook from World War II Navy soldier Richard Wilhoyte and a scale model of the USS Philadelphia that he built and autographed.
The exhibit designer is Oldham County native Breck Morgan. Morgan, a folk artist and expert on antiques, has a degree in Creative Arts including Interior Design from the University of Kentucky. There will be special activities throughout the year in conjunction with this exhibit.
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