Wright Museum Announces Acquisition of Rare Collection

The Wright Museum of WWII recently announced last year’s acquisition of hundreds of items and papers relating to Bataan Death March Survivor Arthur H. Reynolds (1916-2004).

On the morning of April 9, 1942 after four months of intense battle and no hope of reinforcements, American troops on the Bataan Peninsula of the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese. Reynolds was one of these men.

In what was known as the Bataan Death March, captured American and Filipino men, including Reynolds, endured “a torturous march” of dozens of miles over the span of three days.

“Thousands of troops died and thousands more died in prisoner of war camps before they were liberated three years later,” said Mike Culver, executive director of The Wright. “Reynolds survived.”

A Kingston, NH resident, Reynolds would go on to serve twenty years in the U.S. Air Force during which time he earned a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and Korean War National Defense Medal among others.

“We are honored to have items in our collection that chronicle this brave man’s life,” added Curator Justin Gamache, who said it will take some time, however, to catalog all items.

“There are hundreds of pieces in the collection, and we are still working on going through all of them,” he explained. “There are a lot of photos and letters and various pieces of paper ephemera. There are also items he made or collected during his time as a POW. We even have related papers and items from the post-war period.”

According to Gamache, his hope is to finish processing the collection and start to photograph, log and digitize it.

“Even with the help of our part-time staff and collections volunteers, this will be quite a project,” he said.

It is a project, added Culver, that will be well worth the effort.

“A lot of what we do consists of preserving the stories of individual men and women who contributed to the greater good of America and that of the world,” he said. “This goes beyond national identity. This is about our humanity.”

The region’s leading resource for educators and learners of all ages on World War II, Wright Museum features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the home front and battlefield.