PITTSBURG — Gunfire rang out through the late morning air, soldiers yelled and grenades exploded during a reenactment of a World War II battle at Crawford County Historical Museum Saturday.
The battle was part of a living history weekend at the museum in conjunction with its latest exhibit, which focuses on life in the 1940s. Like many towns across America, much of life in Pittsburg during the ‘40s was centered around WWII.
“A lot of people don’t realize the extent of Crawford County’s involvement in World War II,” CCHM Executive Director Amanda Minton said. “Everything from American Red Cross efforts and obviously soldiers going overseas.”
Along with two battles, Saturday’s living history day at the museum featured base camps, military vehicles and a lecture from William Sollner about being in Navy Flight School during WWII.
Inside the museum, exhibits featured ration stamps, ‘40s fashion, old vehicles and even a growing victory garden. One exhibit was created by Pittsburg Community Middle School Seventh Grader Jack Stefanoni. He built replica battles and WWII vehicles using Legos and model kits.
“It’s so exciting when we have a student from the community who wants to be a part of the museum,” Minton said. “This is what makes the museum alive, and this is the exhibit I’m most proud to have in our ‘40s collection.”
Other community members also got involved with the ‘40s showcase. Pittsburg State University Circle K Club — the collegiate wing of Kiwanis — adjusted its Stuff the Bus event to fit the theme. The group is currently taking donations of canned goods and other non perishables to fill a 1940s Pittsburg Fire Department rescue boat. The food will be donated to the Wesley House food pantry in town.
Ten cadets from the PSU ROTC program also attended the living history day to assist with parking and keeping people behind the battle lines during reenactments.
“We just wanted to come out and show our support for the museum by helping out any way we can,” Cadet Captain Savannah Mitchell said.
The museum will have its ‘40s exhibits up through the end of the year, and all events from now through Christmas will focus on life in the ‘40s.
CCHM is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.