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Fri Dec 28, 2018, 01:16 AM

Museum dedicated to WWII homefront opens on Georgia coast

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - One exhibit contains a hinged wooden box that held a bottle of champagne before it was smashed across the bow of a newly launched cargo ship built to carry supplies to American troops overseas. Another displays the ship's bell and a life ring from the S.S. Esso Baton Rouge, which sank off the Georgia coast in a deadly torpedo attack from a German U-boat.

The artifacts recall moments of tragedy and celebration during World War II in Glynn County, where sailors and airmen trained for battle overseas while civilians - including many women - labored at the shipyard in support of the war effort. More than seven decades later, their stories are the subject of a museum that re-creates the war's pervasive effect on the American homefront by focusing on a single East Coast community.

The World War II Home Front Museum opened earlier this month on St. Simons Island, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) south of Savannah. Its exhibits are housed inside the island's former Coast Guard station, which was in charge of shore patrols for German submarines lurking off the Georgia coast during the war.

The Coastal Georgia Historical Society raised $3.7 million to build the museum as a repository for its growing collection of World War II artifacts and memorabilia donated by local residents, including more than 2,000 photographs from the period. The society collected dozens of oral histories and had its exhibits designed by Gallagher & Associates, the same firm that helped develop the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Read more: https://www.wsbtv.com/news/georgia/museum-dedicated-to-wwii-homefront-opens-on-georgia-coast/894552653

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