WW2: A Local ViewGAMBIER, Ohio (May 4, 2005) During the World War II years, communities across America adapted to serve the war effort. Kenyon's home of Knox County, Ohio, was no exception. The public can now learn about the local impact of the war in a powerful exhibit created by fourteen Kenyon students.
"Duty Whispers: Knox County and World War II" opens on Monday, May 9, in the atrium of Olin Library and will move to the Knox County Historical Society on Wednesday, May 18. The exhibit grew out of a course, "World War II: Museums and Memory," the year-long senior seminar in the College's American Studies Program. Leading the seminar, and guiding the students in researching and preparing the exhibit, was Assistant Professor of American Studies Kevin Britz, a former museum administrator and exhibit curator.
During the year-long seminar, students combed local libraries and the historical society collections for information. They also conducted interviews with veterans and their families, local residents who were children during the 1940s, and conscientious objectors from the period. They spent most of the spring semester organizing their findings into the exhibit, which, in both words and pictures, tells the multi-faceted story of Knox County's role in the war. In addition to highlighting the more than 4,400 local men and women who served tours of duty overseas, the exhibit discusses the industries that produced goods for the war effort, as well as the work of drafted conscientious objectors in Civilian Public Service camps.
"Much of the generation that was alive at that time has slipped away," says Bryan Stokes II, Class of 2005, one of the students involved with the project, which received support from the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County. "We hope to preserve and give exposure to stories that we found fascinating."