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Courage, Grit and Pride


L-A’s connection to World War I and II

Through February 2014

Museum L-A and the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College are collaborating on exhibitions honoring veterans and the roles and contributions of local people and industry.

Museum L-A’s exhibition, titled “Courage, Grit, and Pride: L-A’s connection to World War I and II,” focuses on a small section for WWI followed by a great focus on the WWII exhibit.  “It was staggering for us doing the research to discover the gigantic role played by Lewiston-Auburn area workers in the war effort through the manufacturing of goods for the military in World War II,” notes Desgrosseilliers. The section is titled “They Know Their Jobs Are Vital.”  Did you know that: we not only clothed the Army but the Navy also; that we made the parachute cloth for our paratroopers; that we made thousands of yards of ‘mosquito bar’ fabrics for jungle hammocks to protect soldiers and sailors from malaria-carrying anopheline mosquito or that we made special yarns for airplane cloth and so much more,?” she continued.  Excerpts with references to the War by local soldiers from the Museum’s collection of oral histories are included. 

Another section of the exhibit features amazing never-seen-before photographs taken in Japan during the war by Army photographer William J. Burns of the Bates Mill’s personnel department.  Burns’ images depict everyday life in the military, the people of Japan at the time, as well as views of the mass devastation created by the war.  Among the collection on display are photographs of Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the time.

Another section centers on Iwo Jima, 1945 as told by Henry Gilbert, A Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Regiment, 5th Division, USMC in his memoir “A True Story of Valor, Bravery, and Courage.”  This personal story will be told by a man who survived one of the bloodiest conflicts in our nation’s history and who stood at the base of “Iwo” to watch the flag raising.

The exhibit at Museum L-A will be open through February 28, 2014 during regular hours – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 4 p.m.

The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College is exhibiting images and memorabilia from local Franco-American veterans in an exhibit entitled "Sous les Drapeaux: Under the Colors." The exhibit focuses on the stories of selected local veterans who served in conflicts from World War I to Korea, and will explore themes of identity and patriotism among the Franco-American community. The exhibit at the USM LAC is curated by the Curator of USM's Atrium Art Gallery, Robyn Holman, and Collection Coordinator James Myall, and will be on display at the Franco-American Collection at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College through December 30, 2013.  Admission is free.  The Franco-American Collection is open Monday-Thursday, 9-4 and is located at 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston.  For more information, contact James Myall at franco@usm.maine.edu or 207-753-6545.