More events to explore World War II

SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will offer ways for both adults and children to explore the legacy of World War II even after the grand opening of the museum’s new exhibit about the war.

Three free events take place the week after “In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II” opens. 

First, exhibit curators Mark DePue and Carla Smith will explain how they brought together hundreds of artifacts, documents and interviews – everything from Ike’s helmet to memories of Pearl Harbor and D-Day to forged papers used in a daring escape.

How do you make visitors feel like they’re at Omaha Beach? How can the exhibit let people share their memories of the war? What’s the historical context for artifacts like V-mail, gold-star flags and Kilroy? The team will discuss their answers to those questions Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m. in the library’s Multi-Purpose Room (112 N. Sixth Street, Springfield).

The next day, our Tales from the Vault series will look at some of the fascinating World War II items in our collection that did not make it into the new exhibit. They include shoes worn by a prisoner at the Dachau concentration camp, medals awarded to an American soldier and a sentimental “sweetheart” pillow case.

That’s at noon on June 13, also in the library’s Multi-Purpose Room.

Saturday brings a “Superheroes Bootcamp,” a day for children to enjoy fun and games while celebrating the heroes, such as soldiers, who walk among us. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., they can run a bounce-house obstacle course, see uniforms and equipment from World War II, write letters to the troops and play games.

Children are encouraged to wear costumes, whether of comic book superheroes or down-to-earth heroes like police, firefighters, nurses and soldiers. Everyone wearing a costume will be eligible to win a prize basket. The free event, offered in partnership with the Illinois State Military Museum, takes place June 15 in Union Square Park.

“In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II” will be at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum through Jan. 12. It is generously supported by AT&T.

The heart of the exhibit is a series of interviews with the men and women who served and fought in World War II. These interviews have been woven into a series of short videos about the war, from the home front to the front lines. The exhibit also includes stunning artifacts, rare documents and a series of colorful propaganda posters from the war.

The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.  Visitors can see ghosts come to life on stage, watch TV coverage of the 1860 presidential election, roam through the Lincoln White House, experience booming cannons in a Civil War battle and come face to face with priceless original Lincoln artifacts.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history. 

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