A new exhibit at the History Center remembers those of the greatest generation who served both overseas and on the homefront.
The exhibit, Getting It Done: Anoka County’s Answer to WWII, begins with a vignette of a 1941 living room, complete with newspaper and radio announcing the news of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Visitors can then follow the escalating involvement of the USA into the war, experience rationing and salvaging efforts, the Red Cross, and the popular Victory Gardens. The influx of women into the workforce, the conversion of local businesses like Federal Cartridge and Northern Pump to produce large quantities of munitions for the war, and other personal stories will round out the visitor experience.
In a gallery space reserved for nearly 15 years to honor those who served in the United States military, the opening of Getting It Done: Anoka County’s Answer to WWII will highlight the experiences of family and friends who served overseas during this, the 75th anniversary season of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Artifacts on display include knitted red socks and the book of approved patterns, a radio that delivered the news, a banner awarded for the determined war bond effort, and the massive story of munitions development.
Those left at home to harvest milkweed for kapok and naval life jackets, save rubber by not driving, and do without nylons rarely stopped thinking about their loved ones overseas. With three Medal of Honor recipients demonstrating ties to Anoka County, a pair of aviator goggles that witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and several military uniforms also on display, their sacrifices are certainly not forgotten in this exhibit.
It is from this vantage point that patrons can move into the Farms to Flamingos exhibit, which opened last summer to discuss the impact Suburbanization had on Anoka County. With the increase in housing, workforce, babies, and modern conveniences, the post-war era created an atmosphere of peaceable abundance for many. Come add your story to those already held at the History Center!