Wright Museum to explore ‘Mementoes’ of World War II in Shaped by Conflict

Originally scheduled for May and June of this year, Shaped by Conflict is an exhibit that will instead take place next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a delay staff said has unintended benefits.

“The silver lining is that we now have an extra year to continue to develop and possibly expand the exhibit,” said Curator Justin Gamache. “We might even be able to bring in interactive or digital components.” 

Shaped by Conflict reveals the ways in which Americans sought to remember the experience of life during WWII. 

“The war was a defining event in their lives, so many people created or collected mementoes that they felt would serve as a lasting reminder of such a pivotal experience,” he explained. 

These objects, he explained, fulfilled different purposes. 

“From honoring a fallen comrade to reminding a sweetheart of one’s devotion, they were all personal reminders of service and sacrifice,” he said. “By displaying these types of items, we think visitors will get to see a more personal side of the WWII experience.”

According to Gamache, these mementoes range from postcards to trench art and ‘sweetheart’ pillows.

“One of the really special items we have is a wedding dress that was handmade out of a World War II parachute,” he said. “I think our visitors will really enjoy seeing these artifacts and hopefully develop a personal connection to the history drawn from their own life experiences.”

While sometimes referred to as “a World War II museum,” Executive Director Mike Culver said this exhibit in particular reveals The Wright’s emphasis on the home-front.

“We explore aspects of American culture through the lens of World War II history that still remain true today,” he noted. “These themes range from immigration and prejudice to civil rights, heroism and more. When you visit The Wright, you learn what it means to be an American.”

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