Curator's Corner Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2012

United We Won!

It was an amazing opening so a big thank you goes out to everyone who helped make the exhibit a success.  An even bigger thank you goes out to the over 200 people who attended the opening on Saturday!  The positive feedback from those who were the first to see the exhibit was all the reward we in Collections needed to know it was a job well done.  Media coverage from The Missoulian and KPAX TV helped garner even more interest in the opening, bringing crowds of people out to the museum.

For those of you who couldn’t make it out Saturday, the “United We Will Win!” exhibit will be up until January 2014.  There are 47 original, framed WWII posters displayed from The Historical Museum’s collection.  The other 605 posters are in an online exhibit, with detailed information to help students research, and let people see all the WWII posters and their varied imagery.  The online exhibit is on The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula website,

Here are some great photos from the opening, and to see even more go to our Facebook page online photo album,

Museum volunteer Katie Matthew views a "Back Them Up!" poster at the exhibit opening.

People enjoy food, drinks, and coversation at the "United We Will Win!" exhibit opening.

A youthful Museum-goer enjoys the "Make your Own Poster" interactive.

A packed Heath Gallery during Saturday's exhibit opening.

The Paoli Family views one of the Norman Rockewell posters on display.Museum volunteer Katie Matthew views a "Back Them Up!" poster at the exhibit opening.

Curator Nicole and I at the exhibit opening.


Crunch time!

With only one short week left until the grand opening of the “United We Will Win!” WWII poster exhibit, it is crunch time for the collections department.  Interns are pulled off their inventory projects to assist us with manual labor, Curator Nicole is busy tying up loose ends such as lighting, final text panel printing, and I’ve been putting together a 1940s office and small propaganda pamphlet display case.  AND if you happen to find yourself out at Missoula International Airport, be sure to stop by baggage claim to see the HMFM display case with WWII related artifacts and posters!

Here is a sneak peek at some of what you’ll see at the “United We Will Win!” exhibit opening SATURDAY, APRIL 21st 1-4PM~ refreshments will be served.

Make your own WWII poster with our fun magnetic interactive.

A scrap pile visualized.

We've created our own scrap pile as a way to help people visualize what sorts of items would have been scrapped during WWII. It demonstrates what was needed to make something for the war effort (e.g. 1 old rubber tire = 12 gas masks).

Rosie versus Rosie

Rosie versus Rosie: Information about the origins of "Rosie the Riveter" and which is the TRUE's debatable.

Propaganda pamphlet display, and glimpse of 1940s living room for listening to F.D.R's "Fireside Chats"

Propaganda pamphlet display, and glimpse of 1940s living room for listening to F.D.R's "Fireside Chats"

1940s Office of War Information office

1940s Office of War Information office- we like to think of it as "Patty's office".

"United We Will Win!" Title Poster

"United We Will Win!" Title Poster: original screen print created for the museum by local artist Matthew LaRubbio.

“United We Will Win!” exhibit installation.

The installation of our “United We Will Win!” World War II poster exhibit has begun.  It is thrilling to see the posters on the walls, just as we visualized after MONTHS of preparation, organizing, and strategic planning!  I think the best way to tell the story of installing a major exhibit is through photos:

Organization is key.

Nicole measuring to perfection.

Blake hard at work as usual.

Nicole hammers away.

Drilling machine Blake.

Nicole hangs a poster, while Blake takes a break from drilling.

Cathy Jo ensuring everything is nice and level.

Having fun while working hard!

Heath Gallery slowly coming together!

Hanging teamwork.

It's official, we have posters on the walls!

Collections in a digital age.

Although we as a team in collections enjoy physically handling artifacts (with signature white gloves of course!), the reality is not everyone has the opportunity to handle the thousands of objects here.  Furthermore, we live in a digital age where most people gain information via the Internet, and a number of people primarily experience things digitally.  Physically coming to a museum, for example, is no longer absolutely necessary to experience what a museum has to offer.  While nothing replaces seeing something in person, one can interact with collections in a digital format.

HMFM is working on bringing its collection to the public in this digital, online form with the inventory photograph documentation (see this previous post).  We are also bringing the WWII “United We Will Win” poster exhibit, and the entire WWII poster collection to the public digitally.  Intern Blake and I have been working tirelessly to scan and digitize all 653 WWII posters in our collection.  It’s a process that requires the use of a large scanner at the Missoula County Surveyor’s office, unspeakable amounts of hard drive space, and meticulous attention to detail.

Example of a scanned WWII poster (16.25" x 22.5")

All of our WWII posters will be available on our HMFM website when the exhibit opens April 21 (exhibit posters available for sponsorship are currently displayed on our website).  I hope you will take moment to browse our collection online, and experience this fantastic portion of our collection for yourself!