Chesterton Tribune

County museum seeking WWII memorabilia for exhibit

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Volunteers of the Porter County Historical Society are revamping the war exhibit rooms at the Porter County Museum of History to make it a more interactive experience for visitors.

Joanne Urschel, who is the secretary of the Historical Society Board, and volunteers Eunice Slagle and Ilaine Church have pitched in in recent months getting the rooms ready for the museum’s open house for this year’s Valparaiso Popcorn Festival on Sept. 8.

Visitors can get a close look at military history from three different periods – the American Civil War, World War I/Spanish-American War, and World War II -- the “Greatest Generation.”

Each exhibit will feature items that the Historical Society has collected over the years from those living in Porter County to bring a local perspective to these major wars.

“We’re not only looking at these time periods but we’re looking at the entire Porter County experience,” Urschel said. “The idea is that there is a connection.”

Starting early next week, the Historical Society will be videotaping those who served in WWII and editing interview segments on their experiences in battle. There will also be a “homefront” section, Urschel said, where wives and children of the soldiers will tell about their memories of their husbands or dads going to war.

The interviews will be conducted throughout the month and will become a part of the exhibit in early October where visitors can watch the videos on touch screen monitors.

To further enhance the exhibit, Slagle said the Historical Society wants to put together a Porter County WWII scrapbook and the organization is asking residents for pictures or memorabilia they have from the war.

Those who would like to contribute to the scrapbook can contact the Porter County Museum of History at (219)465-3595, or by e-mail at

Church said the museum has ten new cases to display items. Already part of the exhibit are helmets and weaponry from not only the U.S. but from the Japanese and German sides including a sniper vest worn by German soldiers. Newer exhibit items include postcard caricatures that soldiers drew when corresponding with each other.

The museum, formerly known as the Old Jail Museum, is located at 153 Franklin Street in Valparaiso on the southeast corner of the County Courthouse square.


Posted 8/3/2012