A stirring new exhibit at the Fort Morgan Museum tells the story of World War II relief efforts through posters designed to motivate people to do something about the devastation left behind by war.
“Work, Fight, Give: American Relief Posters of WWII” will open Friday, March 31, in the museum’s lower gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the general public.
“Work, Fight, Give” offers a wide-ranging collection of original relief posters and memorabilia that provides a new window on understanding a watershed event in our nation’s history. The display includes visually exciting poster art, poster stamps (known as “Cinderellas”), photographs, banners, and programs issued by the various relief agencies and by the National War Fund – an agency created by Franklin Roosevelt to consolidate the hundreds of relief agencies that sprang up to aid countries and peoples devastated by war.
According to a news release about the exhibition from ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance:
“This is not the story of courage in combat, not the story of the dropping of bombs, rarely the story of rattling machine guns or the bursting of artillery shells; rather, it is the story of those motivated to do something about the carnage and chaos left behind when the din of battle subsides and the armies move on. Relief organizations in big cities and small towns alike found creative ways to mobilize Americans and collectively raise millions of dollars to help those in war zones.
“Work, Fight, Give focuses on those who gave of their artistic talents to design posters that were aimed at the hearts of Americans, to persuade citizens to donate their time and resources. Many of America’s top artists and illustrators designed the relief posters, and they often employed historical, mythological and cultural symbols representing various countries and cultures … In addition to the posters themselves, this exhibition offers context of the posters in action, through images of the artists, along with agency leaders, movie stars, well-known personalities, or simply volunteers proudly showing off their posters.”
This poster imagery, today rarely seen and largely forgotten, allows the viewer to experience the effort to aid those in need. While the exhibition is historical, the material will be new to most viewers and reveals a universal theme – we are “our brother’s keepers.” Work, Fight, Give is a powerful reminder of the continuing need for philanthropy in a tumultuous world, and how the greatest generation met that challenge.
This exhibition was curated by Hal Wert, professor of history at Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year.
“Work, Fight, Give” will be on display in the lower gallery through April 28. For more information contact Museum Curator Brian Mack at (970) 542-4011 or email@example.com.
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